John 5

The Iridium, NYC

John 5
(with Jared James Nichols)
The Iridium, NYC
March 13, 2019
Article & Photographs By Estelle Massry
Additional Article Contributions by Dennis Morgillo
John 5 has turned the famous Iridium into a Freakshow! The stage looks like a fun house, circus side show, nightmare. I bet Les Paul never pictured this. 
John 5, of course, is the guitar wizard genius that has played with everyone from David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and Ozzy Osbourne to Avril Lavigne, KD Lang and Lynyrd Skynyrd. 
John 5 is arguably the best guitarist on the scene. He is technically amazing, and absolutely flawless. His playing is beautiful and emotive. Unlike other players that play emotionless notes, John 5 plays with blistering speed but also melodically and full of soul and feel. I absolutely love his playing.  
John 5 is not a one trick pony. The man is a student of music and mixes every genre into his arsenal. I hear Jazz, Classical, Blues, Rock, and Country as well as Metal.

John 5 has 8 solo albums as well, with the latest being the incredible 'Season of the Witch in 2017. 
Jared James Nichols opened the show with a powerful blues rock set. Nichols was recently named as one of the "Top Upcoming Guitar Players in the World". Nichols has a new album out receiving lots of acclaim. "Black Magic" is his second full-length album. 
Now it's time for John 5. There's nothing as exciting as the anticipation of waiting for the headliner to walk on stage. John 5 comes out looking like the Prince of Darkness. Face paint, viking like medieval battle wear and a shocking  mane of blonde hair makes for very cool look.  
As horror movie clips play on the monitors behind him, John 5 rips into the opener "Season of the Witch". The song is industrial metal at it's best, John is wailing, the crowd, packed shoulder to shoulder, loves it. 

It is amazing how this man can captivate a mostly metal crowd with just his guitar. "This is My Rifle" sounds like a mashup of Metallica, Rage Against The Machine and Jazz Rock fusion heroes "Mahavishnu Orchestra". 

I just love how John 5 goes from genre to genre, sometimes within the same song and even soemtimes during the same guitar solo. His playing is incredible. 

I love "Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers in Hell", it sounds just like the title suggests. There is no way just one man is playing this. It sounds like an orchestra of guitars up there. For "Hell Haw", it sounds like a beautiful country jazz trio. Smooth Country Jazz from Hell. 

The show stopper of course is "Mando Jam" where John mashes up riffs from some of the best songs ever. It is forever changing and tonight the 12 minute monster jam consists of bits of Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Police, The Knack, Queen, Van Halen, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Soundgarden and many more. They wrap up the show with Michael Jacksons "Beat It" and "I am John 5". Incredible. Bravo!  

John 5 is what you get when you let a kid listen to Kiss, Jimi Hendrix, Yngwie and Hee Haw. John 5 is a rare talent and I am sure Les Paul is looking down from Heaven at the club he created and is smiling from ear to ear. He would definitely like John 5.
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