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An ecstatic communion with pop's dark extremes

With industrial sounds and images of sex and hot-rod horror, Rob Zombie gives hard rock a melodramatic flair.

April 26, 2006|Steve Appleford | Special to The Times

Hard rock isn't just about the singer or the song. In the hands of a wild pop-culture artiste like Rob Zombie, it can be something bigger and badder -- an explosive celebration of hot-rod horror Americana, where the music is almost secondary to the overall effect.

That was the scene Monday at the first of Zombie's two nights at the Wiltern LG, where the decor was all about stars and stripes and skulls and naked anime chicks on the big screen. Like a culture-crazier cousin to Quentin Tarantino, he unleashed a storm of colliding industrial sounds and projected images of sex and horror, Charlie Manson and Bettie Page, Herman Munster car crashes and cartoon women with breasts that bite.

Zombie stood way up front, bearded and making broad gestures as his band erupted with bursts of guitar and beats underneath "Living Dead Girl" and the new "American Witch." This man knows how to project.

His recently released new album, "Educated Horses," is dependably aggressive and also strangely accessible, though the sound of "Foxy Foxy" grew a bit muddy at the Wiltern. His worldview was never shaken, as he sermonized and shrieked not with typical metal rage, but ecstatic communion with the dark extremes of pop.

Support act Lacuna Coil does not yet share Zombie's melodramatic flair, but delivered some straight-ahead goth-metal with a promising melodic accent. Though the rising Italian six-piece band suffered from an uncertain sound mix that dulled its edges, a raw, head-banging take on Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" suggested the timeless crossover potential of gloomy metallic rock.


Rob Zombie

Where: House of Blues Anaheim, 1530 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim

When: 7:30 tonight

Price: $38

Contact: (714) 778-2583

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