Patriotic Horror

Vortex Music Magazine

In front of a sold-out audience, Rob Zombie turned the Roseland into a haunted house. Photos by Christina Bargel.

Viddy the horrorshow: Click to see a whole gallery of photos by Christina BargelViddy the horrorshow: Click to see a whole gallery of photos by Christina Bargel

Glow-in-the-dark creatures crept onto the stage, one decorated with demon sculptures, a Frankenstein banner, and a 666-emblazoned support beam. Wild-eyed and glowing, the monsters took up their instruments to begin a jam most foul, heralding the appearance of the dark lord, Rob Zombie, who jumped on stage with his wild dreadlocks flailing in the sweaty air. For the crowd at the Roseland Theater on September 8, Halloween came early this year.  

Famous not only for his music but also for his films and his unique place in American horror culture, Rob Zombie regularly fills amphitheaters, parks, expo centers and outdoor festivals all over the world. But for the City of Roses, he chose to play the smallest venue of his entire tour, with a maximum capacity of only 1,400. And every ticket in the house was sold.

Zombie ripped through the gamut of his extensive solo career, playing “Living Dead Girl,” “House of 1000 Corpses,” “Dead City Radio And The New Gods of Supertown” (watch the video below) and other Zombie-core classics. As is so often the case in the Northwest, the audience started out tame, content with polite head bobbing. But the crowd couldn’t resist the energy of “Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)” and finally exploded into a mosh pit during White Zombie’s “Thunder Kiss ‘65” (below). For the rest of the show, it was hard to keep two feet on the ground.

What attracts legions to Rob Zombie is that he is such a nontraditional metal artist. In his live show, he employed techniques more fitting of a hip-hop performance, such as repeating “Jump!” to the audience and getting the crowd to do guys versus girls cheers: “Now all the ladies in the house say, ‘Motherfucker!’” During the performance, his drummer, Ginger Fish, rocked an extended drum solo to James Brown’s "I Got You (I Feel Good),” and the night’s set included a Ramones cover. (Check out the complete set list and a gallery of photos.) Also, the king of horror metal, the flesh monster with an insatiable appetite for gore is—a vegan.

To start off Zombie’s first (of three) encores, his guitarist, John 5, opened with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Zombie returned to the stage wrapped in an American flag. The band then blasted into Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band.” It was damn patriotic. What’s more American than listening to hard rock and bashing up against your neighbor?

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