Roughly one year ago this month, guitarist John 5 (Marilyn Manson, David Lee Roth, Rob Zombie) and his band The Creatures were performing at the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, Pennsylvania in support of their then brand new album Season of the Witch. That concert went on to be the basis for the band’s recently released live recording It’s Alive. The 18-song, 73-minute (1 hour, 13-minute) set is an interesting new offering from the group that is worth at least one listen. Yes, listen. This is one of the important elements that will be discussed later. The concert’s set list is another key piece of this recording’s whole that plays into its presentation. The record’s production is the last of its most important elements. It will be discussed later, too. Each element is important in its right to the whole of It’s Alive. All things considered, these elements give this record life, but sadly, keep it from kicking.
It’s Alive, John 5 and the Creatures’ recently released live recording, is an interesting new offering from the veteran rock band. Released this past January via 60 Cycle Hum Records, the concert presents an 18-song, 73 minute set list that pulls largely from the group’s most recent album, 2017’s Season of the Witch and its predecessor, 2014’s Careful With That Axe. While not the only albums featured in this performance – it also features music from God Told Me To (2012) and The Devil Knows My Name (2007) – they are the most prominently featured albums in this set list. Season of the Witch sees nine of its 13 songs included in this set while Careful With That Axe is represented by six of its 10 songs. The whole thing closes out with a medley of other songs. On the one hand, it’s nice to see the group’s most recent album get so much attention, but at the same time, John 5 has released eight full-length studio recordings and a remix album. One can’t help but wonder why this set list pulled so heavily from just two albums. Yes, two others of that eight total are represented here, but each is represented by only one song. To that end, this set list does a good job of promoting Season of the Witch and even Careful With That Axe, but in terms of really representing John 5’s overall body of work, it comes up somewhat short. Keeping this in mind, the set list featured in this recording is both a positive and a negative. It is good in its own right, but still leaves one wanting for more. The concert’s presentation solely on audio platforms versus audio and video is another issue.
It’s Alive was released on CD, LP and digital platforms in its initial release this past January. There were no full audio-visual releases, and there has been no word on a DVD or Blu-ray release for the concert since then. This is another issue that this recording faces. It’s an issue because while taking in a concert just through the ears is an enjoyable experience (provided it has been mixed and produced properly – yes, there are concerts out there that haven’t been so well mixed and produced) – it limits the full concert experience. Being able to hear and see a concert, even from the comfort of one’s own home is far more engaging for audiences than just being able to hear it. Obviously, this is not the only recording from any act to ever be released only on CD, in the group’s defense. At the same time though, it would have been nice to have had that as an option. It would be no surprise when its sales meet or even exceed expectations. Considering this, it’s just a bit of a surprise that the recording was only presented on CD. Hopefully the band and the label heads will read this and take this into consideration, and eventually release the concert’s video portion. That is if cameras were also involved in the initial recording. Taking all of this into consideration, the audio-only presentation of this concert — while enjoyable in its own right — still leaves audiences wanting for more just as much as the concert’s set list. This can be problematic, too. Luckily for all of the problems posed by the program’s set list and platforms, they are still not enough to make the concert a fail. The recording’s overall production does plenty to make the concert worth at least one listen.
The time and effort put into the recording’s production and mixing is a saving grace here that cannot be ignored. Audiences feel like they are right there at the venue thanks to that time and effort. Even with the music being fully instrumental, each musician’s line is expertly balanced with that of his fellow musician. The crowd noise is just as well-balanced with the music. The end result is an experience that despite such a focused set list and being an audio-only presentation is still a presentation that is worth the listen. Keeping this aspect of the recording in mind, its production and mixing collectively form the foundation of its presentation. Even while the set list is so focused and the presentation audio-only those two elements rest on that foundation to present It’s Alive a recording that while maybe not kicking, has a solid pulse.
John 5 & The Creatures’ new live recording It’s Alive is an offering that while maybe not kicking, does at least have a solid pulse. That is due in part to a very focused set list that lifts very liberally from the group’s most recent studio recording, 2017’s Season of the Witch and its predecessor. That is also despite the recording being made available only in audio settings. Even with these issues being noted, the recording still deserves at least one listen. It is available now in stores and online. More information on It’s Alive is available online now along with all of John 5’s latest news and more at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.