Chris Loomis

John 5 & Jared James Nichols @ The Basement East – 08/24/2021

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Weird times these days to say the least . . . 18 months gone by, and the world is still dealing with Covid-19. While many artists have chosen not to tour or cancel their tours, there are many artists that are plowing through this and touring regardless and thank you for that as the world needs live music!

And what better place to see a live show than in Nashville, TN . . . took a trip down to “Music City” to catch John 5 & The Creatures along with Jared James Nichols and Black Satellite. This amazing tour kicked off on August 10 and “knock on wood”, so far has had no Covid issues and wraps up on September 4 at Rocklahoma.

Now this is a special tour as you have the most innovative guitarist on the planet John 5 along with “Mr. Blues Power” Jared James Nichols who is making quite a name for himself with his six-string as well as NYC’s Black Satellite opening the show.

Black Satellite kicked off the night to the early-birds and put on a memorable set of alt-rock with some catchy guitar riffs and stunning vocals by singer Larissa Vale (who also wore one of the coolest spiked leather jackets). The crowd was definitely into this band, and it was a perfect fit to prime everyone for the remainder of the night.

Jared James Nichols – if you are familiar with him then your mind is already blown, if this is your first exposure then you need to head over to Youtube and check him out right now! This was a hometown show for Nichols as he currently calls Nashville home so there was a huge turnout for his set. Rocking the stage with Jared is drummer Dennis Holm and bassist Clark Singleton and this trio is a Blues Rock powerhouse.

The first thing you will notice about Nichols is he is a large human being – must be 6-4” with large muscular arms . . . next you will notice he does not play his guitar with a pick – 100% uses his fingers and lastly but most important you will notice the sound of his amazing guitar playing on his signature Gibson Les Paul’s. (Read a recent interview did with Jared James Nichols here).

The band mixed in some older tunes along with a few new tracks off his upcoming EP Shadow Dancer to be released in September. The hottest song so far off that EP is “Bad Roots” which is just a Deep Purple-ish rocking tune that just grooves with a scorching solo. Nichols and the band played a tribute to Charlie Watts who passed away earlier that day with a funky yet powerful jam of “Miss You” which was a great nod to the late Rolling Stones drummer.

Nichols was recently gifted a restored early 1950’s Les Paul that he played a few songs on and he repaid the gentlemen who restored and gifted the guitar to him onstage with one of his signature Les Paul’s as a thank you – was a nice gesture and a great way to end this hometown set. You will hear the name Jared James Nichols for many years to come and he is on a path (if not already there) of being one of the elite players in the Blues/Rock world.

John 5 is a road warrior – between being a member of Rob Zombie’s band, his own band The Creatures and guesting on other artists music he never sits still so you knew you were going to get a very pumped-up John 5 on this night as the downtime during Covid must have been difficult for someone who is always on the road.

What you get with John 5 is 75 minutes of absolute guitar wizardry – no vocals just John 5 with his collection of various Fender Telecasters, bass player Ian Ross and drummer Logan Miles Nix – a super-duper power trio that literally has you mesmerized from start to finish with their playing.

What makes a John 5 show special in addition to the amazing musicianship and fantastic songs are the visuals that go along with each song. The stage is decorated like Halloween Horror maze with video screens on each side of the stage displaying terrifying monster movie graphics throughout the night. John 5 wears a mask of himself at one point then pulls the mask off only to display another mask – a glowing green skeleton. He wears cheese-cloth like material over his head, he switches out guitars – whites ones, black ones, clear ones with glowing green “lava” inside – he plays a banjo, a mandolin, a John 5 robot takes the stage at one point, its non-stop entertainment from start to finish. The visuals complement the music equaling a haunting experience to not be forgotten.

With several solo albums in his catalog, he mixes up the song selection that includes songs that would be considered heavy metal, then there are some bluegrass/country songs, some slower melodic songs – he is a master of it all. The sounds John 5 can create with just his fingers just make your head-spin. It’s hard to use the word greatest – he may just be that – but he certainly is the most creative guitarist you will lay your ears on and that’s a fact!

The band is playing a new song “Que Pasa” from his upcoming album Sinner to be released in October 2021 – a nice addition to the set-list. The highlight of the set is always the medley jam where the band transitions from song to song and on this night it included Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, The Knack’s “My Sharona”, Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”, Kiss’ “Detriot Rock City” and many more – the medley is always a fan favorite that gets the entire place hopping.

John 5 & The Creatures end this tour on Saturday September 4 at Rocklahoma with their first large festival appearance and John 5 also plays a headline set Friday September 3 with Rob Zombie. Catch John 5 & The Creatures on tour again this fall with Yngwie Malmsteen as well as John 5 playing with Rob Zombie on various US festivals in September.

Black Satellite Photo Gallery

Jared James Nichols Photo Gallery

John 5 & The Creatures Photo Gallery

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