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Concert review: Rob Zombie@the Crest Theatre, 5/27/2011
This was day two of a two-day mega-concert marathon (some what rare in Fresno), which kicked off with Flogging Molly at the Rainbow Ballroom. Two nights, two great concerts, both cheap-ish and within walking distance. A guy could get used to this.
Fireball Ministry: Let me start with what I didn't like. It's a pet peeve and goes out to singer/guitarist Reverend James A. Rota II: STOP SCREAMING 'FRESNO' ALREADY! We know where we are. We hope that you know where you are, but we don't need to be reminded bewteen EVERY SONG. Seriously. Like I said, this is a pet peeve, and I get that you're trying to forge an emotial bond with the audience by appealing to our sense of civic pride or whatever, but it's just so cliche ... Also, I don't know about trying to get the audience to cheer for you before you've played a single note.
That said, Fireball Ministry was such a refreshing change from the normal guitar chugging, double-base drum scream-fest that normally passes for opening bands at these types of shows. Here's a band that runs on riffage, thick chunky Sabbath-style riffs layered under soaring vocals. They harken back to bands like The Obsessed, Zakk Wylde's Pride and Glory and Trouble (all of which I love), but they are more than a simple throw-back band. From the band's bio: "Fireball Ministry ain't got a rule book. If shit rocks, it rocks. Period."
That's about right.
Rob Zombie: Rob Zombie is a showman. Mainstream popularity has given him the know-how and money to stage full-scale rock spectacles, with the video screens, half-naked go-go dancers and a giant robot monster, but even in his earliest incarnation (a band called White Zombie), you could tell the man knew how to put on a show. Friday night was a call back to those early days. The show was one in a string of small-venue stops for Zombie. The day before he played at the Fat Cat in Modesto. The limitations of the venue meant there wasn't any elaborate staging, or fancy lighting, just a four-paneled backdrop depicting old-school movie monsters (Frankenstein, the Phantom of the Opera, the Wolfman and Dr. Jekyll). The focus then was on the band and the songs (and some pretty awesome costuming).
And they brought it, pounding through a set of mostly classics (including some White Zombie numbers, during which Zombie brough out his old cowboy hat). Early on, Zombie complained that his voice was shot, though if that was the case, he managed to hide it well enough, calling for the audience to sing along, which it did with vigor. Highlight: John 5's blaring intro on "Thunderkiss '65."