Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie

with Lacuna Coil, Bullet For My Valentine

Orlando, FL • March 19, 2006

When Rob Zombie decides to go back out on tour and play smaller venues, like the House of Blues, tickets do not stay available for long. The Orlando stop on his Educated Horses tour sold out (or as the chalkboard marquee outside the box office stated “Totally Sold-Out!) in a less than a day. When the night of the show finally rolled around anticipation for the musician-turned director-turned overall horror media guru’s rare performance was as high as the testosterone levels of the burly audience.

The South Wales act Bullet For My Valentine opened the evening with 20 minutes of melodic metal that left the majority of the crowd unmoved. It wasn’t until Lacuna Coil revealed themselves that the audience let it be known that their attention was not solely reserved for Mr. Zombie.

Lacuna Coil

Jen Cray
Lacuna Coil

Hailing from Italy, the sextet would sound like most every other European metal band were it not for the co-lead vocals of Cristina Scabbia. A striking figure with sensual good looks, Scabbia’s voice adds a haunting beauty that is more pronounced when seen live. When she stands alongside her male bandmates onstage, slamming her head to the rhythms, she is the focal point of the show. When standing by, as her co-vocalist Andrea Ferro sings parts (which at his best sound bit like Dead Can Dance, but at his worst sound horribly Linkin Park-ian), she appears a bit uncomfortable in the spotlight. Or maybe she’d just rather he get off the stage and allow her to own the title of lead vocalist alone. I do not think I’d be alone in saying that I would second the motion for the latter.

Rob Zombie and John 5

Jen Cray
Rob Zombie and John 5

As I got in place to await for the man we had all come to see, I’m told — by HOB’s security — that only two photographer’s will be allowed into the security pit. Not only that, but we can only shoot the first two songs and if we use a flash we’re out. Wow. Now the flash thing is not unusual, flash is never “allowed” at venues of this size or bigger; however it’s often overlooked if the lighting is really dark and/or the bouncers are too busy with an overzealous crowd. But to only allow two shooters when there had been five of us down there, previously, for Lacunca Coil — very strange! But, lucky enough, I was one of the pair so I got my position as the pre-show music blared into Dr. Hook’s “Cover of the Rolling Stone” and the video screen played images of running horses and Japanese anime.

With his cowboy hat hiding half off his face — the other half hidden by his mass of hair — Rob Zombie stepped out onto a stage complete with skulls, clown heads, and the numbers 666. What happened from there was a blur, because the lights were barely illuminated. I remember guitarist John 5 (formerly of Marilyn Manson’s band) wearing a skull mask, and I recall Zombie standing on one of the large black structures next to me, close to the crowd, spinning his wild mane of hair. But a weird thing happens when you’re trying to photograph someone in the dark: you don’t see anything.

Rob Zombie

Jen Cray
Rob Zombie

When I got out of the pit and back to a position of viewing, I was immediately impressed with his tight performance. Having seen old live White Zombie footage where he frequently ran out of breath from all of the running around, I expected a feast for the eyes but not the ears. Perhaps to drive the point home that his talents have grown since the days of his old band, he launched into a pair of White Zombie tunes early on. First “Living Dead Girl,” and then “More Human Than Human.” In an Iron Maiden’s Eddie-inspired move, “Human” featured a larger than life Robot on the stage. Overblown, fantastical, entertaining yet a tad bizarre — such is the world of Rob Zombie.

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