Album Review: John 5 and the Creatures – It’s Alive!

By Ryan Falla

John 5 and the Creatures recently released a new studio album, ‘Season of the Witch’, and the newly released live follow-up looks to be exciting as the latest studio release. The 16-track live record ‘It’s Alive!’ is an absolute blast. John 5 and the Creatures is a purely instrumental experience that hits all the right notes; the music doesn’t express the overt flamboyance that tends to follow guitar-virtuoso based experiences. There’s a thin plane of existence between showing off and musical integrity, and John 5 exists comfortably within that niche.

‘It’s Alive!’ is a fun record, some of the most fun I’ve had listening to a record in recent memory. Just as a live experience should be, John 5 captures the energy of seeing a top-notch live performance. The live renditions manage to both capture and enhance the experience involved within the studio recordings, it really feels like you’re listening to the songs with a fresh shine on it. ‘It’s Alive!’ is a brand new experience regardless of how many times you’ve heard John 5 and the Creatures’ body of work.

There’s a lot of personality within ‘It’s Alive!’, both in the minutely defined musical persona of John 5 and the fun exuding from the record. It’s not common to use “fun” as a main descriptor regarding a perceived musical excellence; yet it is so that the main aspect of concert-going is the “fun” aspect, which makes a live record’s ability to inspire a sense of exhilaration crucial. I’ve listened to too many live records that miss the point and throw out a live album that amounts to nothing but re-renditions of their respective music.

Even with a bad band, if they can inspire exhilaration through their performance you’ll have a good time. In this case we have an excellent band in John 5 and the Creatures and a party-to-go with the live record ‘It’s Alive!’

Within the 16-track live record is a plethora of incredible tunes such as ‘Black Grass Plague’, ‘Flight of the Vulcan Kelly’, and ‘This is My Rifle’. Alongside the John 5’s originals are some outstanding covers with ‘Beat It’ by Michael Jackson, featuring John 5’s killer guitar work which carries the entire melody (and it works amazingly). To end the record is a 10-minute “medley” track feature 30-second to minute-plus renditions of classic hits such as ‘Hot for Teacher’, ‘Seek and Destroy’, ‘Kashmir’, and ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’ among a constant flow of hit after hit.

John 5 and the Creatures’ latest record, the live piece ‘It’s Alive!’, is one hell of a good time. It’s a live concert you can carry around in your pocket, and one hell of a concert at that, which kind of makes it a perfect record.

Rating: 10/10

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Release Date: January 25 2018

Track Listing:
01. Guitars Tits and Monsters (6:25)
02. Flight of The Vulcan Kelly (2:32)
03. Six Hundred (3:20)
04. Heres to the Crazy Ones (4:09)
05. This is My Rifle (4:11)
06. Jiffy Jam (3:15)
07. Hell Haw (3:01)
08. Season Of The Witch (5:06)
09. Portrait Of Sydney Sloan (4:23)
10. Triple D (4:53)
11. Black Grass Plague (5:02)
12. Behind The Nut Love (2:54)
13. Making Monsters (4:55)
14. Beat It (5:11)
15. Now Fear This (3:59)
16. Medley (10:05)

Total Duration: 1:13:21

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