In the aftermath of a crippled Marilyn Manson performance the pressure was highly on Mister Zombie and he managed to deliver a shock rock set of epic proportions! Accompanied by the guitar virtuoso; John 5, Rob Zombie kept pulling pelvic thrusts and limberly grinding on his mic stand, physically proclaiming that he’s still one of the all-time best showmen in the music biz. Dancing and head banging Zombie was accompanied by the massive set pieces, which made up his crazy horror show of a performance at this year’s Knotfest. There were several very memorable moments when there was a monolith of a ghoul and a giant dancing Astro-man wreaking havoc on-stage beside Zombie. One can’t help but feel reminiscent of Iron Maiden’s badass On-stage battles with a giant Eddy. Zombie really brought the shock rock to San Bernardino. The show began with the ignition of pillar poised pyro technics ignited on either side of the stage illuminating the on-stage set. The flares and flames unveiled a massive boom box radio appropriately named Satan-o-Sonic and the tape inside the tape deck labeled; “Dead City Radio,” which amusingly meshed perfectly with Rob Zombie’s song; “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown.” Next Zombie released the “Superbeast” as it were by playing his hellish classic, which lit the euphoria deep within every spectator bearing witness to Zombie’s furiously executed jams. As the set continued Zombie delighted all his female fans with not only his highly sexually charged stage presence but, before the music commenced he asked all the ladies in the audience to arise on top of the guy’s shoulders, like exalted goddesses the men rose many women up upon their shuddering shoulders. With waving arms stretching to the sky screams soon followed when Zombie began playing especially for the ladies, one of his staple songs; “Living Dead Girl”.
For each part of the set the back drop of the stage set was a large screen which showcased some specially shot montage of images related to whichever song was playing, and this became specifically effective on his next song, “Scum of the Earth” judiciously featuring tons of pictures of Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, The Butcher of Plainfield Ed Gein, the Milwaukee Cannibal Jeffery Dahmer, The Night Stalker Richard Ramirez, Charles Manson, and the rest of the Manson family. Depicting photos of their murders and their mug shots Zombie proclaimed a pretty harsh stance on what it means to be the Scum of the Earth without saying a single word (albeit outside his song lyrics) and being a powerhouse of a film director Zombie really played to his strengths which became especially prevalent during this song. The most entertaining section of his entire set came before the following song. Zombie began what at first seemed like a campaign speech but, soon my thoughts of Zombie for President were dashed when he began proclaiming his disinterest in today’s more prevalent issues and conveyed that the only issue he’s truly concerned with is that… “Well, Everybody’s Fucking in a U.F.O.”. Zombie then called back to his roadies to bring something out from the back, Rob and John 5 were then presented with two life-size, green blowup-Alien-dolls. Rob and John then hurled both of the blow-up E.T.’s into the crowd conducting the audience to crowd surf them all the way to the back near the neon lit Ferris Wheel. In a creeping green light I watched as both blow-up dolls bounced about everyone’s raised hands and to my delightful surprise they seemed to actually reach their destination, through a sea of tens of thousands of concert goers. A giant dancing Astro-Man then took the stage for the next song White Zombie’s; “More Human than Human.” Followed with the non-stop unrelenting rock classic “Never Gonna Stop” the crowd was set afire in an unending boisterous slam-dance in complete unison. The next highlight came with the commencement of “House of a 1,000 Corpses,” which was complimented with footage from Rob Zombie’s first film by the same name.
John 5 whose already switched between several guitars one which had a Frankenstein face imprinted on the body and a white bodied beauty with neon color changing bright lights riddled all over the guitar’s body, the bass player had sported a rad coffin shaped bass as well. John 5 shred for several minutes which is always a pleasure to witness his immense skill, and clean sweep picking, it was a true auditory feast one much experience to fully comprehend. John 5 then opened up the next song another classic from Rob’s first band White Zombie’s “Thunder Kiss 65’” which while the opening riff was being played he asked a return back to the olden golden days and politely asked for everyone in the audience to please put away all cellular devices to fully enjoy the music for what it is. This greatly delighted me feeling like with the advancements in technology in recent years have been doing anything but, making us more connected but, drift further away from genuine social interaction and experience. I delighted in this return to the good ol’ days which I must again thank Zombie for bringing to light during his set.
The next two songs were covers perhaps to pay some sorta homage to the ones who’ve influenced Zombie through the course of his life. This trip back in time began down the avenue of the classic Punk era as Zombie played his cover of the Ramones “Blitzkrieg Bop” which got the crowd leaping together in a riveting roaring arousal. Next, Zombie headed back home to the original shock rock god playing his cover of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out”. Finally, Zombie ended the night with his most notable tune the ever-popular head thrasher “Dragula”. Unfortunately when I looked back at the set list he played for previous shows he played a much longer set featuring some new music from his most recently released album; “The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser,” which I truly wish I would’ve gotten to see. My thoughts are that perhaps his set time was cut short due to the delays during Marilyn Manson’s set because of, understandably, his injury (which I go into full detail with my review of his set). All in all it was one hell of a performance most definitely the highlight of my entire experience at this year’s Knotfest. If you have yet been unable to catch Zombie live I do recommend you do your eyes and ears a favor and go see the living dead hellbilly in concert next time he comes to a graveyard near you.