Two sold-out nights in a row (weekdays, no less) at one of the largest indoor venues in Los Angeles —one might think that Rob Zombie was popular. With fans that ranged from old-school White Zombie devotees to a 10-year-old in a fedora, the man has managed to gather quite a loyal following, despite having a relatively small (and spotty) discography. For the former Rob Straker, however, the image has always been as important, if not more so, than the music, and that's really where the appeal lies. That's OK though, because the image and showmanship are just as good as (if not better than) his music.

Since Bullet for My Valentine managed to big-mouth its way right off the tour, the evening started with a 45 minute set from Italian Goth-metallers Lacuna Coil. The crowd's apparent unfamiliarity with the band brought the energy down some, but Lacuna Coil never half-ass a show. They headbanged in unison, singers Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro rocked the mic like only diminutive Italians in Hot Topic Goth clothing can, and singles "Our Truth" and "Heaven's a Lie" went over well since the audience actually knew those. Of course, they were just there to warm the crowd up, because it was pretty damn obvious who everyone was there for...

As the crowd let out the BIGGEST CHEER I've ever heard in a midsize venue when the lights went down for Rob Zombie.

Apparently, he got his "bare-bones show" jones out on Ozzfest last year, because the stage was decked out in banners of classic Universal monsters, American flags, light-up "666" signs, and a giant video screen. And, for a 40-year-old, that dude is spry . He ran around the stage, headbanging furiously, jumping from speaker to speaker —but it was hard to tell whether to watch him or the aforementioned giant video screen, which was showing clips from classic horror movies, old softcore porn flicks, and bizarre tentacle rape/fighting hentai anime, all edited to the individual tunes. As the friend I was with remarked, "I wouldn't want to watch cartoons at Rob Zombie's house." There were also giant robots that walked around on stage, and you don't get much more awesome than that.

The song list itself was actually pretty diverse, hitting almost every album he's done. There were the usual songs from the new album, and obvious songs like "Living Dead Girl," "More Human Than Human," and "Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)," but he also played some real rarities like "Creature of the Wheel." The crowd, of course, knew every one of them. The highlight of the evening was an absolutely killer "Thunder Kiss '65," complete with pointless guitar solo.

Unfortunately, the evening was dampered by overzealous security. There was no moshing allowed, and apparently anybody that moved around got tackled and thrown out. This led to Zombie ranting between songs about how the audience should just wave their wrists around, since they didn't seem to be able to do anything else.

Still, despite that small problem, it was a truly great show. Mr. Zombie's disappointing recent output and questionable album naming ( Educated Horses ?) had caused this reviewer to lose some faith in him —but, by the end of the night, I was once more a devout Zombite.