Upcoming Concert Reviews of Buckethead, Zakk Wylde and More...

More Concerts of Note

Trey Anastasio


Thursday · 20th Century Theatre

In today's culture defined by soul-baring documentaries, behind the scenes looks and exhaustive FAQs, a good mystery can be hard to find; this one wears a KFC bucket on his head. OK, so the name isn't much of a puzzler, but if The Residents, The Unknown Comic and Jason Voorhees had a masked baby, it would be Buckethead. Though his love of horror, humor and experimental music has been a constant for over 15 years, the anonymous guitarist's projects are in endless flux. Two of his better-known early projects were the Deli Creeps (Bay Area contemporaries of Mr. Bungle) and Praxis (with P-Funker Bernie Worrell). His mercurial style grew with many solo projects and one-offs, including the theatrical Death Cube K (an anagram and alter-ego), as well as actual scores for various movies and games. Recently, he has kept busy with a project with Les Claypool, a stint in Guns 'N' Roses and even a musical collaboration with Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen. The closest thing to a common thread running through Buckethead's work is his virtuoso-in-a-blender, avant-shred style. His latest album, Buckethead and Friends' Enter the Chicken, shows off the experi-metalist's forté like none before. The use of vocals is the most significant departure, although they did not emanate from behind the mask. Instead, ol' Bucky assembled a diverse array of vocalists to adorn the various styles he explores, including operatic soprano Ani Maldjian, spoken word artist Saul Williams, Efrem Schulz of Death by Stereo, World Fusion great Azam Ali and even his old Deli Creeps partner Maximum Bob.

Perhaps the most notable guest is System of a Down's Serj Tankian, who also produced the album and released it on Serjical Strike Records. The tour in support of the new disc also tips the hat to another one of the artist's loves — amusement parks. Dubbed "The Disney World to Disneyland Tour," it kicked off in Orlando recently and will roll into Anaheim later next month. (Ezra Waller)

Trey Anastasio with Tea Leaf Green

Saturday · Taft Theatre

Just as Chevy Chase reminded us in 1975 of the continued non-living status of Francisco Franco, we take this opportunity to pass along the news that Phish remains resolutely broken up. The only upside to the dissolution of the legendary Jam band is the four-way creative stock split that occurred when the quartet went on separate-but-equal paths toward satisfying solo projects (Page McConnell's Vida Blue, Jon Fishman's Pork Tornado, Mike Gordon's work with Leo Kottke). Of them all, the highest profile belongs to guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio, whose solo work has generally been billboarded by his own name and which has clearly benefited from his role as Phish's front personality. Anastasio's previous solo output hasn't cast too far from the Phish pond but, to date, his albums apart from the band came to fruition while the band was still a viable unit. His latest effort, the just-released Shine, is Anastasio's first solo album since last year's official end of Phish and so offers an interesting new wrinkle in his solo fabric. Shine is considerably more song-based than Anastasio's other solo works and more melodically crafted and Pop-structured than anything he's done in or out of the band. Shine also marks the first time in Anastasio's long band and solo career that he stands as an album's only lyricist, resulting in songs that are less obliquely cryptic and more experiential and narrative. None of this should come as any deep systemic shock to diehard Phish fans, who likely heard a good deal of this new material on Anastasio's 2004 circuit with his touring group 70 Volt Parade. Still, even within the melodic clarity and relative brevity of Shine's 12 tracks, it doesn't take much imagination to hear the natural points for Anastasio and his musical cohorts to stretch these concise Pop songs into epic Phish adventures. Whichever way Anastasio chooses to play it, the faithful will flock to experience this latest permutation of Phish evolution and love (and burning vegetation) will most definitely be in the air. (Brian Baker)

Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society

Saturday · Bogart's

Zakk Wylde has made an impressive career out of over-delivering on unreasonable expectations. When he made his first appearance on the national stage, Wylde was ostensibly filling the impossibly large void left in Ozzy Osbourne's band after the tragic and untimely death of lauded young guitarist Randy Rhoads in 1982. When Osbourne tapped the New Jersey native to become his new guitarist in 1987 at the tender age of 19, Rhoads' shadow still loomed large across Osbourne's solo legacy, and no one had successfully occupied the guitarist's position for nearly five years. Wylde's stints with his own Stone Henge and a parade of other regional Jersey bands had sharpened his chops; his appearance on Osbourne's No Rest For the Wicked in 1988 was heralded as a return to the histrionic glory days of Ozzy's earliest solo work. After seven years, Wylde decided to go it alone and formed the power trio Pride & Glory, which only lasted a single album. Wylde briefly considered casting his fortunes with Guns 'N' Roses and even returned to Ozzy's fold for tours and albums while maintaining his solo profile. In 1998, he formed Black Label Society and over the past seven years has maintained a dual schedule of recording and touring with both BLS and Osbourne. Although the personnel of BLS has fluctuated throughout the band's history, Wylde's mesmerizing Metal guitar heroics have been the focal point regardless of his playing partners at any given moment. After five albums for a variety of indie labels, Wylde signed with Artemis to release his sixth and most incendiary album to date, Mafia. Before the album hit the street this past March, Mafia's first single, "Suicide Messiah," nailed No. 1 most added slot on mainstream and active Rock radio, finally exposing Wylde and Black Label Society to the broader audience he has long deserved. Mafia was released to wide acclaim and Wylde once again finds himself at the top of Metal guitar polls as a fan and media favorite. The stage is still where Black Label Society's intensity is greatest, so get your ticket and take a walk on the Wylde side. (BB)

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