Ian Storck

John 5 Solos His Way Through Wisconsin

Music Scene Media
Feb 7, 2024
4 min read

Coming off of taking on the role of the guitarist for Motley Crue, John 5 has gone from packed stadiums to a slew of venues including the odd bar for his latest tour. 1175 Sports Park and Eatery in Kansasville, Wisconsin is exactly one of those. Situated in rural Wisconsin between Chicago and Milwaukee, you wouldn't expect it to be outfitted with such good production in its music hall, capable of handling national touring acts and large crowds. And you might not expect said bar to be completely packed to the brim for the return of John 5, but it is.

At first glance, opening act Liliac looks like a group of teenagers (which most of them are). But don’t let the appearance fool you, as this band has some serious chops. The group, entirely made up of five siblings, has made multiple television talent show appearances, and now has taken to the road to open for John 5 on his spring tour. Their set features some original tracks, but mostly a selection of covers of some of the best that classic rock and metal has to offer, and they do justice to every single track. The highlights of the night are covers of “Holy Diver,” “The Trooper,” and even a heavy version of “Seven Nation Army.” This is definitely a group that has a long future in music ahead of them.

Now I have to pose a question: 

Can someone be so good at what they do that it almost seems impossible? That’s what I ask myself every time I see John 5 perform. The man flawlessly solos on multiple instruments for almost two hours straight and barely even breaks a sweat, it’s almost unreal.

This tour seems a bit pared down compared to the previous tours I’d seen, which had extra lighting, TVs and stage decorations. John 5, sans face paint, is backed only by a drummer and at one point a bassist, but these changes mean nothing to the overall quality and entertainment value that the show offers. From guitar to bass to banjo to miniature guitar and back again, John 5 has a ridiculously precise control over every instrument that he touches. There are sounds coming from his guitar that you wouldn’t even think were made by such an instrument, and that’s not just a testament to his skill as a player, but his creativity as an artist and composer.

His set opens with the epic “Season of the Witch” and really doesn’t give much breathing room as he quickly switches guitars to move from track to track. The atmospheric “Cactus Flower” is one of the calmer moments in the set, as John 5, with his face draped in black fabric, plays it while serenely backlit. Reminding the audience that he’s joined Motley Crue, to which plenty of cheers are heard, John 5 dons his signature guitar with an emblazoned “CRUE” on the strap and launches into a medley of solos and riffs from their most popular tracks.

I think it’s evident that John 5 can attract a wide range of people to his shows. There are metalheads, guitar nerds, curious concertgoers, and the best part of it all is that everyone was having an absolute blast. Even someone who prefers songs with vocals over solely instrumental tracks can be enthralled and entertained by John 5’s performance.

Follow John 5: Website / Facebook / IG / X

You can find the rest of the tour dates here:

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