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 Rob Zombie
Mesa Amphitheatre 4/27/06

by Zane Ewton

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People of all shapes and sizes crammed into Mesa Amphitheatre to enjoy an evening of rock and roll madness with metal's resident spooky man, Rob Zombie. Leave the kids at home as your senses will be overloaded with sex and violence, and maybe a smattering of music.

Bullet for My Valentine did not perform, whether it had to do with the current tour drama or simply a lack of time remains to be seen. Lacuna Coil took the stage and delivered a brisk set of songs that all sounded the same. A few of the band's faithful made it up to the front to support the Italian band, which made up in manners and overall attitude what they lacked in comprehensible songs. I had heard good things about Lacuna Coil but was disappointed to see just another band desperately holding on to the remains of nu-metal.

Thanks to a ten o'clock curfew in Mesa, Arizona the setup for Zombie's stage was quick and without time to spare Zombie and his band exploded on to stage with "American Witch" from his underrated new album.

Zombie's band was in top form, particularly guitarist John 5 (new to the Zombie fold) who before the prerequisite "Thunderkiss '65" teased the crowd with some "Sweet Dreams", "Highway to Hell" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy."

Unfortunately, there seemed to be more of a focus on breast, both on the video screen and in the crowd than there was on the music. Rob took several opportunities to mention his love for Phoenix and his previous stops here that ended in typical rock debauchery. Zombie is great when he sticks to the kitsch and the metal but the gratuitous sex steals focus from his trashy, fun songs and top notch band.

Speaking of the songs, Zombie's music has aged well along with his voice and undeniable stage presence. All of Zombie's best known tracks were brought out, taking evenly from White Zombie, Rob's previous solo albums and this year's Educated Horses. Rob Zombie is one of the last metal icons from the 90's to still be able to deliver something exciting and keep his past fresh for his throng of fans.

This was the last stop on this leg of the tour and the band seemed to meander through the performance more than usual. Zombie took extra time to roll out the ten foot tall robot so iconic with his first solo record, and he made unrequited mentions of a friend waiting in the wings, the original horror music king Alice Cooper. More than anything, Zombie heaped praise on the crowd and shared his love for the town. I bet he says that to every city they play.


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