So, after a feverish run through South America, Rob Zombie turns his attention to Europe for a string of festival appearances, with some headline shows thrown into the mix. The Zombieheads were out in force as John 5, Piggy D, Ginger Fish, and Rob Zombie hitched their wagons outside the O2 for an unofficial warm up show for a little known festival in the East Midlands.
Zombie last played the venue six years ago, commenting from the stage, “Fuck, guys, could you have booked a smaller venue?”. In 2011, it was full production, screens, pyro, the whole shebang. Tonight, it was more of a stripped back affair. Mind you, a stripped back Zombie gig does still feature more of a production than most other bands. The Universal Monsters backdrop was there along with an incredible light show, but the only pyro on show came courtesy of the fretboard action from John 5. Those that have witnessed a Rob Zombie show will know that he has a penchant for performing from raised platforms along the length of the stage. Tonight was no different, as from the opening strains of set opener, ‘Dead City Radio And The New Gods of Supertown’, he set about proving that white men can indeed dance. A feat more hair-raising than usual, as he had a bit of a precarious drop to consider, as he boot scooted left to right constantly throughout the set.
Set wise, it was short, 80 minutes by my watch, give or take. A run through of the set that featured in Argentina and Brazil, and will more than likely feature as he blazes a trail through Europe. A mixture of White Zombie staples (‘More Human Than Human’ still crushes after all these years), a couple of cover versions (‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and a few verses of ‘Schools Out’), all mixed in with fans favourites such as ‘Superbeast’, ‘Living Dead Girl’, ‘Lords Of Salem’ and what else but ‘Dragula’ to close the show. Newer tracks like the sublime ‘Get Your Boots On! That’s The End Of Rock And Roll’ and the totally gonzo ‘Well, Everybody’s Fucking In A U.F.O’ represented present day Rob Zombie. Before the latter began, Zombie brings out two life-size green alien inflatables and throws them into the crowd with the instruction “Don’t be that guy that tries to steal them and take them home… let them surf all the way to the back”. No one ever listens of course, so one guy tries to be a smart arse and gets called out for being “that guy”. That wasn’t the most surreal moment of the night though. That was later on, when a couple of guys carried a mate on their shoulders through the crowd like some sort of viking funeral rite. Said mate was lying flat out with his arms folded across his chest as the funeral procession made it’s way unhindered to the barrier. Glasgow on a Friday night, eh?!
With all the lights, the show and the greasepaint, it’s easy to overlook how good the band actually are. John 5 needs no introduction and gets a massive response to his solo, and whenever he made his way over to either side of the stage, the place erupted. Even when Rob Zombie went walkabout through the crowd and over the bar (complete with flashlight) during the guitar solo, John 5 still managed to capture the crowd’s attention. Piggy D is a cool hombre, make no mistake of that. The slicked back look suits him, and each bass that he brought out bettered the previous, I liked the cross shaped one, but the one complete with flashing red eyes topped that. That leaves Ginger Fish at the back on the drums, I love seeing a drummer sitting high up for all to see, and you couldn’t miss this guy. Kit set up diagonally, it was easy to watch his pounding footwork, and on many occasions, I missed something else going on as I was hypnotised by his drumming. Usually, it’s either Rob Zombie himself or John 5 that demands the audience’s attention, but tonight, both Piggy D and Ginger Fish played a major role in the evening’s entertainment.
After the closing strains of ‘Dragula’, the band took their bows and departed stage left. The exit doors were opened and the crowd spilled out into the night. Only thing being that the “night” was indeed bright daylight, something not right there methinks.
Rob Zombie is on tour throughout the summer, all dates can be found here
Review: Dave Stott