It would be the perfect Halloween: a Saturday night, daylight savings time ended and gave us an extra hour, a full moon, and Rob Zombie. HRC decided to roadtrip to LA by herself for a whirlwind 36 hour adventure.
Perhaps I had better start from the beginning. White Zombie was my first metal show. Rob Zombie was the only one of ‘my’ ’90s bands that I actually got to see in the ’90s. I wouldn’t see him again until late 2007 opening for Ozzy, in seats.
I would classify Rob Zombie’s music as my guilty pleasure tunes, and that’s absolutely not a diss to his work. I don’t read US Weekly, I don’t watch The Hills, I don’t surf Perez, and I for damn sure do not listen to Lady Gaga….to me a guilty pleasure musically is a band where it isn’t just about the music. If I didn’t have such vivid imagery and such a defined aesthetic along with Zombie’s music, I probably wouldn’t be into it. His songs don’t tug at any personal feelings that I’m unable to express and thus must listen to the music to get it out, like NIN; nor does it contain obscure philosophical or scientific themes, like Mastodon. Rob Zombie is part metal band, part cowboy, part horror film, part strippers, part white trash- all things that directly relate to my upbringing in a way that no other band has ever done. I’m into metal. I was born and raised in Texas in a family that owns a gun company. I was raised on horror films- my dad would watch them with me a when I’d start to look scared he’d laugh and say, ‘look at all that ketchup!’ and thus my very sick sense of humor was born. In fact, when I was a kid, my dad looked exactly like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. I’ll admit, I’ve got some white trash in my family, and I myself have been involved in white trashy type things in my past. Strippers….hmmm….I’ve never been a stripper so don’t get your hopes up for some juicy story there, but I’ve definitely practiced in the confines of my home, taken a few cardio striptease classes, and visited several strip clubs all over the US because that breed of woman fascinates me.
With one of my NIN friends in tow, we arrived at the Palladium and joined the huge line. I’d say a good 50% of the crowd was in costume….many in simple Zombie facepaint to at least show some effort towards the evening. I had already done that twice this week; tonight’s costume was Alex from A Clockwork Orange.
After waiting for only a few minutes, a car accident occured in the intersection in front of us……pieces of car parts littered the ground. At first I thought it was going to be a hit and run, but I did see the car finally pull over. The same thing happened in front of the Fonda for the NIN show last month. Then a crew from the BBC rolls up and asks if I would say a few words for the camera. They asked me what my thoughts were about Rob Zombie on Halloween, so I mention that he was my first metal show, blah blah blah, and end up turning it into a shameless self promotion for HRC. So that was kinda weird. Then this van rolls up- a mobile ATM- which seemed super shady. The line starts moving, and we get closer to the entrance and see how the outside is decorated for the occasion.
We get inside and are pretty excited to get spots at the left corner or the stage, second from the rail. We have almost an hour to hang out, so we had a couple drinks and reminisced NIN style. We also admired some of the costumes we saw: Waldo, Franken Berry, and a Teletubby were standouts.
At promptly 8pm, Uncle Seymour Coffins, the host of the evening, came out flanked by two raven haired twins in pleather. He seemed a little drunk, and the skit seemed a little awkward, but having a host for the show did give the night a special feeling.
Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures kicked off the music. I interviewed Captain Clegg, otherwise known as Jesse Dayton, recently, and it was good to hear a lot of the things I brought up in my questions touched upon in his stage commentary. I’m not sure if the crowd knew what to make of it, but they were polite if a little quiet. Personally, it was nice to hear a group of Texans perform- there’s a certain quality there that you can’t get anywhere else. For part of their set they were joined by a go-go dancer, which would sadly be the only dancer for the evening.
Next up was another skit with Mr. Coffins which included a woman with an accordion, and some eye rolling worthy banter.
The Nekromantix had some hard core fans in the crowd- potentially ones that came just to see them. The trio includes a female drummer, some gravity defying hair, and zombie makeup. The vocalist plays an upright cello in the shape of a coffin. Cool aesthetic, but I tired of the rockabilly quickly.
Most of the rear of the stage had been covered all night, and it was now time for the big reveal. There were two screens in the back, and then more screens mid stage in front of the elevated drum set, and then more mini screens along the front of the stage. One of the people at the rail near us was in a wheelchair, and at this point he wanted out. So we all moved for him to leave..and then the tallest guy in the entire room moved in his spot with his tiny girlfriend blocking my entire view. I WAS SO PISSED OFF. But in an amazing maneuver, the dude in the wheelchair comes back, AND EVERYONE MOVES AND LETS HIM BACK IN HIS SPOT AT THE RAIL. Unbelievable. So even though I know it’s risky, I stand behind him…unobstructed view.
Mr. Coffins comes back out and I can’t even remember who was with him or what he said for the most part, because I got that surge that happens when I’m at shows that mean a lot to me: I got nervous. Excited, but nervous. I started shaking with adrenaline and couldn’t stand still. I do remember him saying something about how everything started for him 30 years ago on that stage when he was a roadie for Anvil. Not sure if that’s true or not, but it caught my attention.
Then a video clip runs- The Peanuts Halloween special. After that, ZOMBIE is spelled out one letter at a time on the screen, and that cycles a few times. And then nothing. And then we watch the Peanuts skit again, and the letters, again. This time everyone shouts the letters and began chanting ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! And then it began.
Insert HRC girl scream here. As a whole, Rob Zombie the band has to be the best looking group of guys out there. First Tommy Clufetos walked out to his drum set, then Piggy D and John 5, followed by Mr. Rob Zombie. I think they started off wearing the Total Skull bandanas over their faces. The intro music playing is a mash up between ‘Sawdust in the Blood’ and ‘Electric Head Pt. 1 (The Agony)’. And then Clufetos begins the madness that is ‘What Lurks on Channel X?’. I’m watching Piggy D, staring dementedly at all of our faces, mouthing along to all of the words. There are horror clips on the screen, parts of the words to the songs, there’s pyro, and then there are the guys and their ferocious attire. OVERSTIMULATION AND I LOVE IT. Normally, I’m all about the clean and simple rocker look- and honestly there’s something about the clothes these guys have on that could easily go into Ed Hardy/Affliction territory….but it doesn’t.
IN FACT I will devote an entire paragraph to Rob Zombie’s pants. OMG wow. I think they were denim with all sorts of embellishments on them, to the point of almost looking dirty, Below the belt, where the pockets should be, there was….nothing. Skin and hip bones. At first I just saw one side and thought it was a tear, but it was indeed symmetrical. And he totally pulled it off. If HRC ever finds another manfriend, he will be made to wear those pants. Sheri Moon is a lucky lady- they are definitely one of my most favorite couples….*turns green with envy*.
Launching into ‘Superbeast’, the pit gets insane. A couple comes crashing out and want to jump over the wheelchair and over the rail. Fights are breaking out everywhere; skinhead dudes are mangling anyone in their paths, including one who flat out hit a chick, to get up front. Security wasn’t doing much to help. I was getting beat up against the wheelchair- I have lots of bruises- but I knew that going into it. My eyeballs glued on my costume immediately popped off. Half the time I had to lean on top of wheelchair guy to hold my balance on the rail. He turns around and is like, “are you ok?”, and I’m like, “yeah, are YOU ok?”, and he says yes and we both go back to getting beat up and headbanging and loving it.
These guys know how to entertain. They hop on top of blocks at the front of the stage and thrash, dance, and pose for the crowd. The camera policy seemed pretty lax- but there were no professional photographers in the pit the entire night. My trusty Sony drowned on Friday in an unfortunate drink-spilling-in-the-purse accident, so I was trying to learn my new camera at this show, and things didn’t go to well.
There was a lot of stopping in between songs to chat with the crowd. Zombie often held a giant flashlight on the crowd- looking at the costumes or pointing out the VIP area, “look at all those people who probably didn’t pay to get in!”. He urged Ronald McDonald to go crowd surfing, meanwhile lamenting, “why did you stop making Shamrock shakes?”. As the night progressed, to introduce ‘Thunderkiss ’65’, he discussed how no one knew them on the Danzig tour in 1992, “before most of the front row was born”- until this note became popular, followed by John 5 teasing the intro. Then he talked about how pits used to be scary, “you might die” type experiences, and had the lights left on for the song in an attempt to get a rougher pit going. It always makes me sad when I hear bands say that….I feel like they’re disappointed in us! But at the same time, if things were still like that I couldn’t stand as close as I do…
There was a lot of crowd surfing going on. Once a girl came over, and when security stood her up, she paused and they looked at her like, “are you ok”, and it ended up that she was just waiting for a particular part of the song to jam out to. It was hilarious. Another time the security had to take a guy down because he tried to rush the stage. And then there was the tit flasher, who’s body and shirt arrived separately, but were rejoined by security covering her as they hauled her away. Chicks dig Rob Zombie, myself included.
Parts of the show were a bit ruined for me by the rough crowd- ‘Living Dead Girl’ is one of my faves, and half that song was spent with security on top of my head trying to pull someone out. But it was a fun chaos, and I was surprised to come out of the pit a) unmolested considering my attire- the dude behind me was really well behaved, and b) only with a few smudges on my legs from the wheelchair…..you can wear white in a mosh pit apparently.
The new songs were met with muted reception….I’m not in love with them though I will admit that ‘Sick Bubblegum’ is fun live. Chanting ‘bubblegum’ still sounds weird to me though.
I felt a little removed from John 5’s playing all night- he briefly came to our side a couple times, but for the most part he would just dash over like he was playing tag with an invisible person. At one part of the night, Zombie threw a monster head into the audience- with a warning they were supposed to throw it around like a beach ball and not hang onto it because it is “worth nothing”. Eventually only the hair made it back onstage, and John 5 wore it for part of a song.
As if the screens and the pyro and the men weren’t enough of a spectacle, Eddie-like giant monsters made their way onstage during two different songs. It was rather impressive. There was a lot of effort put into the production of this show, and I’m very interested to see what remains in the ‘normal’ show I will see in San Jose on Tuesday. You could tell things were not running like a well-oiled machine though; beyond the issue at the beginning with the intro video, Rob’s mic cut out a bunch at first- in one song it cut out the whole beginning, which really pissed him off and he picked up the mic stand and slammed it into the monitor and was going for the drums when he calmed himself down and yelled at one of the crew. This, of course, prompted my friend and I to exchange a glance and say, “something’s gonna get broken!”. He also had choice words for his lighting guy.
But their evil energy ruled the night. They sounded great, they looked great, and they pulled out all the stops for us. They closed the set by bringing out buckets of candy and throwing it into the crowd, before all joining together in the middle of the stage and taking a classy final bow.
It was quite a night, and the messy floor of booze, cups, broken eyeglasses, shoes, and costume pieces told the story. I never caught a pick (this is why I fail at sports), but my friend did, and special shout out to her for giving it to me for taking her to the show. Warms my heart.
I’m super excited to see the guys again on Tuesday…so stay tuned for the next installment of the adventures of HRC in Zombieland.
Setlist from Phoenix- similar but I think there were a couple differences.
What Lurks on Channel X?
Living Dead Girl
More Human Than Human
House Of 1000 Corpses
Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)
Scum of the Earth
Thunder Kiss ’65
Werewolf Women of the SS
Lords Of Salem
A few choice clip from youtube (not mine):