It was a cold night here in Dallas on March 6, 2019 as I headed toward the Trees Venue to witness John 5 and the creatures invading Dallas, Texas with special guests Jared James Nichols, Dead Girls, Dead Girls Academy, ant Nytrate. that they brought with them for the spectacular night of music they had planned for us. As When I was approaching Trees to get in line to enter you could see John 5 sitting in his bus just hanging out waiting to come give all his fans a phenomenal show! People were waiting outside the venue patiently to get in and get this night of incredible music kicked off.
As I entered the venue you could see all the fans that were getting there early to claim their spot up in front of the stage, so they could get the whole experience of this unbelievable show from the lineup that they had prepared for us that night. You could feel the anticipation in the air of everyone ready to get this night started and watch the opening band kick things off for us.
For the opening band, John 5 brought out a local Dallas / Fort Worth band Nytrate. These guys really kicked the night off right with their own brand of music that combined some old school metal and rock. Channeling heart and Judas Priest with a flare of their own style they have developed a serious chemistry from playing together for the last several years. When they kicked it off they set the tone for the rest of the night to be a fantastic show. They sang several songs off their current self-titled album that included “Death in the Family”. This song starts off very fast with some great guitar licks and amazing vocals by their lead singer Ally “The Siren” Clay that is very melodic and hitting high notes like you would hear at a Judas Priest show. They also played some new songs for us like “the Siren” and “Regret” that will be included on their next album that they will be releasing sometime in the future. If you have never seen this band live I would recommend checking them out. They have an incredible sound and very talented members that include an incredible guitar player Jimmy “smooth” Adcock that can shred on the guitar like crazy. Their bass player Zevron Zeau aka the Necromancer is fun to watch giving everyone a show as he keeps the low end held down. Finally holding down the timing of the show is Thomas “Taco” Canto that looks like a mad man back there on the drums with hair and drumsticks going everywhere.
The next band up was Los Angeles band Dead Girls Academy that is a mixture of rock, goth and some punk all rolled up into one show. The front man for Dead Girls Academy is Michael “Vampire” Orlando and he has a very broad range of vocals that have some deep almost growl sounds and can hit the high notes that you would not expect to hear. They are a truly diverse group that has amazing vocals and some amazing guitar shredding in the mix also. They played some songs off their album “Alchemy” that included “Everything” that starts out with some low guitar riffs and some low-end vocals backed by the band. This band loves to interact with the crowd and get everyone hyped up and going along with their songs especially when the bass player and two guitarists get right in the front of the stage together and gives the crowd a little taste of the talent that is in this band. Another one of the songs that they performed for us that night was “Forever” that starts off fast with some heavy guitar playing that leads into some more amazing vocals by Michael “Vampire” Orlando. Dead Girls Academy is a show that you do not want to miss if you see them in your town get to one of their shows you will not be disappointed. Not only is the music good the show is great, and they are all very friendly if you get the chance to meet them.
The next band that went on right before John 5 was an incredible power trio blues and rock band named after their front man Jared James Nichols. As soon as they hit the stage you see Jared with his signature single pick up Epiphone guitar named “Blues Power” that is a fitting name for this guitar. From the first note you can tell Jared knows his way around this guitar and is ready to show you his talent for the rest of his show. Jared released his first album titled “Old Glory and the Wild Revival” in 2014 and has been on the road making music ever since. He played old songs and many new ones that are on his latest release “Black Magic” that I would highly recommend you listen to it if you haven’t yet. When listening to him you can hear some of his influence’s in his music like Stevie Ray Vaughn, a little Jimi Hendrix, and mixed with his own style as well. Jared was also named “Top Upcoming Guitar Players in the World” in 2016 by Music Radar. In his song “the Gun” you get to hear some low end followed immediately with some high-end squealing from his guitar. If you have never seen Jared play live I would recommend you get to one of his shows soon as you can. I am sure that you will not regret it. The whole band loves to play the crowd and interact with them watching him shred on his guitar is a completely mind-blowing experience. He gained a new fan that night and I have been listening to his work ever since.
At long last its the time we have all been waiting for. The Headliner of this Invasion the Amazing John 5 and the creatures are about to take the stage. As the last band cleared off the stage and curtains closed while they were getting the stage ready for John 5 you could feel the anticipation in the air waiting for the show we have all been waiting to see. Shortly after the curtains closed you could see movement from behind the curtain and when they opened the curtains all the lights went out in Trees. Suddenly all the stage lights and flashing lights began to flash, and a siren started ringing out over the speakers as if we were being invaded. Quickly out of one of the stages props a large robot that looked like John 5 comes out with lights and sirens going with a neon futuristic gun looking prop as if he was zapping everyone in the crowd and was walking all over the stage playing with the crowd. As the robot was walking around you start to hear a guitar and then without any warning out walks the man himself. John 5 wearing a white outfit with thigh high combat boots with pentagrams up the side of them. He walks to the center of the stage and stands up on a large box and is then illuminated and begins looking out at the crowd with a terrifying look on his face and he strums his guitar. He goes through the first song and then walks to side and puts a light up mouthpiece in and the lights go down again, and the stage lights start strobing and going around with the beat of the music that they were playing. After the first couple of songs John 5 goes over to the microphone and welcomes all his fans to the show that night. He then thanks everyone that have made it out there and said that he is shocked by the number of fans that showed up to a show in the middle of the week. John 5 and the creatures then start playing the first single they released from their upcoming album “Invasion”, and the song is titled “Zoinks” which he tells us got its inspiration from watching the scooby-doo tv show when he was a kid. John 5 continued to play to the crowd and continued to completely shred that guitar and payed a very wide range of songs from all genres. After about 5 songs John goes and gets a new guitar from his tech and then appears back on stage with his signature mask on and a clear acrylic guitar filled with a neon liquid like you would see in a lava lamp. After a minute he took his mask off and under that one was a neon glowing skull mask and he started playing his guitar with a bow like you would play a violin with. He played like this for a bit which was astonishing to see in person. He then walked back to the side of the stage and got a banjo and started playing that while he was stomping the stage like something you would see on hee-haw, it was pure greatness. After John played the banjo for a minute he goes to the side stage again and wraps his head up with a net and comes back out with a small electric guitar and sits on the front of the stage and plays a couple songs for the crowd. John played a few songs with this guitar and goes and get another guitar and as he unwraps the netting that is around his head he asks the crowd if they are ready to get weird. Everyone erupted with cheers, applause, and started throwing the devil horns in the air to show him that they were ready for anything. John 5 goes over to the box and gets up there and hits the first note of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and the crowd went crazy. He played the whole song and at one point was playing the guitar with his teeth. After a couple of songs John 5 changes guitars yet again and this time he has his signature LED guitar that the whole front of it is filled with LED lights that lights up the front of the stage and part of the crowd in the venue. He then gets back on the box and plays a few Pantera songs that really gets the crowd going. He follows that up with a little bit of White Zombie “Thunder Kiss ‘65” and follows that with some Marilyn Manson “The Beautiful People” and everyone is cheering and yelling as he plays. After this barrage of songs, he tells the crowd that they have been having so much fun and just want to keep playing more for all of us which he does. John 5 says that they have one more song for us and he said they were going to just play around with it which is their latest release off of his upcoming album and the song is titled “I am John 5” where he goes in front of the microphone and starts speaking through it where it has a tube attached to it and make his voice sound like a robot stating I am John 5. They played around with this song for a bit then took his guitar off and hoisted it to the sky and tells the crowd thank you for coming, and he will see them again as he walks off the stage to close out the night. I have been talking about this show to friends and family ever since I was able to experience it because that is exactly what a John 5 show is an experience. If you ever see his show close to where you are I would recommend you go check it out, you will not be disappointed. I have already told our family and friends next time he comes back to town we all need to go so they can experience a John 5 show as well.
Words and Photos by Craig Youngblood