Nov 21, 2019

John 5 - Rams Head Onstage

By Bob Suehs

JOHN 5 / Jared James Nichols / Reverend  Jack

11/21/19

Rams Head Onstage

Annapolis, MD

JOHN 5 Set List: Crank It, Rifle, 666 Pickers, Crazy Ones, Hell Haw, Howdy, reintro, Season, I Am J5, rv attack, 1st Victim, Black Grass, a word from J5, Cactus Flower, Mando Jam, Zoinks, Midnight Mass, Medley, I Want It All

 John 5 commented that this particular show was the strangest they had played on their current tour and that this would be one they truly remembered because the stage was tiny, the room was intimate, and almost everyone was seated at a table.  Rams Head Onstage is a dinner theater styled venue and the acts that perform there are generally NOT hard rock.

 Reverend Jack’s set started early and by the time we arrived they were jamming on a cover of Allman Brother’s “Midnight Rider” which was heavier than the original version.  Reverend Jack was a tight, young, southern based hard rock act and their musicianship was superb.

 Jared James Nichols was next and his stage was super minimal; Jared had stage right, the bassist had stage left, and the drum kit took the bulk of their stage room because it was a plexiglass cage which encased the drummer.

 Jared played a vintage ’53 Gibson which had been heavily played and modded throughout the years.  A Fan asked him about the guitar and Jared joked that the guitar was older than he was!

 Jared’s guitar playing is unique because he finger picks everything.  Blues, hard rock, and guitar solos defined Jared’s style as he wowed the crowd with his amazing ability.  “Mississippi Queen” by Mountain closed the set.

 Jared has a working class ethic and his stage clothes reflected that as well; Wrangler jeans, a tattered leather vest, heavily worn steel toed boots, and a Wrangler denim vest that he wore as a shirt!

 John 5 took the stage with an intro that was reminiscent of “In The Beginning” by Motley Crue; it was a post apocalyptic theme for the end of times.  John pranced onstage with a red dress jacket, blue jeans, and a hat that shielded his face from the direct light.

 John’s band supported his solos and held down the groove so John could effortlessly run through scales, sweep picking, and Van Halen styled tapping.  John’s entire set was instrumental and that’s where the two opening acts had a slight advantage over John; without vocals every song slowly turns into one giant jam and it was hard to tell where some songs started and ended.

 John played a modded Banjo, 2 different Mandolins, and even used a violin bow ala Jimmy Page.

 The highlight of this show was the “Medley” which started with “Fly By Night” by Rush and ran over 10 minutes in length.  Covers from KISS, Pantera, Motley Crue, Megadeth, Metallica, Van Halen, Black Sabbath, The Police, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, Led Zeppelin, and “Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson was performed.  The Manson and White Zombie covers received the most crowd response.

 John interacted with the crowd, joked, pretended to take a swig off a beer, played with an Elmo toy, and asked the crowd to stand and have fun since it was a rock show.  With the venue being a sit down/dinner theater joint it created a strange environment and this show felt like John was performing in your Grandfathers basement more than a big rock show.  The show was over by 10:30 PM and a sign posted near the merch booth stated that John would be out to meet fans and for $50 he would take a photo with you.