Upcoming concerts with Rik Emmett and Tuesday

More Concerts of Note

Aug 4, 2004 at 2:06 pm
Rik Emmett

Rik Emmett

Friday · 20th Century Theatre

Way back in the heady, hedonistic days of 1975, Toronto guitarist/vocalist Rik Emmett was toiling away in the obscurity of a Canadian music scene that was dominated by Folk and Pop acts. With nothing much to lose, Emmett cast his fortunes as a third of the Hard Rock trio Triumph. By the end of the decade, the band had pushed three albums into gold and platinum territory and had even cracked the American market; a handful of Triumph songs remain staples of Classic Rock radio playlists nearly 30 years later. After a 13-year run, Emmett broke ranks with Triumph (who were inducted into the Canadian Rock Hall of Fame in 1993) to pursue a solo career that has made him an even bigger star in Canada and earned him a fiercely loyal and relatively large audience in the States. Although his early solo albums continued in the vein of Triumph's arena Rock ethic, Emmett was already showing a quieter side with the occasional power ballad long before that sort of thing was the fashion. With 1992's Ipso Facto, Emmett began attracting attention for his longstanding stylistic variations, as he offered homages to the Blues, Jazz and Rock, all within the context of a single album. By the mid-'90s, Emmett had built his own studio, which he dubbed the Rec Room, and started Open House, his own label. In quick succession, Emmett defied all expectations and released a fascinating album trilogy: the nylon-string guitar instrumental majesty of Ten Invitations from the Mistress of Mr. E., the Jazz, Fusion and Swing energy of Swing Shift and the crunchy return to Blues/Rock of Raw Quartet. Since then, Emmett has released a live album, a traditional Christmas album, a greatest hits collection and another well-received instrumental collection in Handiwork. Last year, Emmett once again tapped into his inner singer/songwriter with Good Faith.

Old fans be warned: Don't expect a Triumph nostalgia show, as Emmett's Web site doesn't even mention the band by name. Better to go with the intention of seeing one of the most innovative and diverse Rock guitarists of the last three decades. (Brian Baker)

Mastodon with Croatan and Solace

Monday · Southgate House

A quick history lesson for those of you who are interested. The extinct American Mastodon (Mammut Americanum) first appeared approximately 2 million years ago in the Pleistocene Epoch. Feeding on various flora and fauna they roamed North America until only 10,000 years ago, having succumbed to the pressures of an ending ice age and the emergence of human hunters. How could this beast be similar to the off-kilter Metal/Grind/Hardcore band of the same name with two albums of Southern-flavored madness out and a third, Leviathan (Relapse), to be released this month? Well, the present day Mastodon has already started it's own epoch of unique Metal that began in 2001 and is only gaining momentum. Once contained to their hometown of Atlanta, they (vocalist Bill Kelliher, guitarist Brent Hines, bassist Troy Sanders and drummer Brann Dailor) now frequently roam the world feeding off of the jubilation of metalheads without falling victim to the current Ice Age of shitty, formulaic music being broadcast over the nearly barren radio waves. This isn't saying that Mastodon is a palatable band that hasn't been given the proper opportunities to make it big. In fact, that's thankfully far from the case. The cover for their album, Remission, features a ridiculously graphic picture of a horse exploding into ribbons of flesh, and Leviathan will display a demonic whale capsizing a helpless ship. And that's just the impact they make before you even get to the music! That's when they reveal their real talents as innovative songwriters. Their tracks lumber with hefty breakdowns, drums that frequently throw in elements of Jazz, guitar solos with flares of Classic Rock, vocals that sound like a revving motorcycle, and let's not forget their affinity for changing time signatures right before any notion of predictability sets in. This is today's American Mastodon — four white guys from the South who can invoke just as much intimidation as their five-ton namesake. (Jacob Richardson)

The Acoustic Planet Tour with Keller Williams, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and the Yonder Mountain String Band

Tuesday · Timberwolf Amphitheater at Paramount's Kings Island

There's a Bluegrass Jam riot goin' on. That's what you get from players who combine a love, respect and blazing aptitude for traditional mountain music with a brilliantly original knack for translating that antique style into a contemporary form that crackles with a fresh electric intensity. The triple bill on the Acoustic Planet Tour boasts some of the finest modern Bluegrass purveyors in the business today. In six years of relentless touring, the Yonder Mountain String Band has made a name for themselves within both Bluegrass and Jam circles by playing in a hybrid style that appeals equally to both camps. Keller Williams is one of the Jam crowd's brightest lights, a one-man band with enough effects pedals, eclectic loops and samples and pure musical talent to live up to his self-proclaimed "solo acoustic Jazz-Funk-Reggae-Techno-Grass" presentation. Seven years after attracting the interest of the like-minded String Cheese Incident, who gave him the perfect forum as their opening act, Williams is still finding unique ways to astonish fans with his Michael-Hedges-meets-Brian-Eno-at-a-Phish-fry style. And Bela Fleck — the Jimi Hendrix of the banjo — is quite simply the closest thing the Bluegrass community has to a bona fide Rock star and that rarest of all musical breeds, a classical traditionalist who is boldly compelled to reinvent his genre for a young new audience while retaining the core elements of the root style and the appeal to the older fan base. It's a fine line to walk, and Bela Fleck, along with his magnificent Flecktones, achieve that balance with grace and fluidity and they have a great time while they do it. It's a fairly safe bet you will too. (BB)