Concert review: Buckethead (with (it!)) shreds 2720 Cherokee on Thursday, July 26

Buckethead at 2720 Cherokee. Photo by Brad Blackburn.

The night at 2720 Cherokee began with local dance-rock duo (it!) who brought a dual drum groove machine to the stage, immediately busting into a song about themselves and their ability to move the masses’ asses.

Consisting of Joel Kern on guitar, drums, and vocals and Andrew Bohler on drums and vocals, (it!) puts on a show that has to be seen to be believed. Imagine an alternate reality where Daft Punk used drums and guitars to create catchy dance tracks instead of synths and computers and you’ll have a good idea of (it!) in action.

The duo’s vocals matched the tunes well, with Bohler’s screams channeling Black Francis at his highest intensity. They played for about 45 minutes straight, drums in lock step the entire time. Although I personally find dance music too repetitive, (it!) put on a damn good show and kept the crowd’s energy high. If you like to shake your groove thing, this St. Louis band may be right up your alley.

After a few minutes of audio recorded from a game of Galaga, Buckethead hit the stage clad in black except for his KFC bucket helmet and white theatre mask covering his face. He proceeded to pick up his Les Paul and give a clinic on metal guitar virtuosity. Buckethead (aka Brian Patrick Carroll) is one of those guys who make shredding look as simple as can be, both wowing and pissing off the guitarists in the crowd at the same time. When he wasn’t playing insanely fast solo runs or poking out blazing, two-handed tapping bits, he was blasting out some of the crunchiest guitar riffs this side of a bucket of extra crispy.

Between songs Buckethead was either trading gifts with his fans, showing off his sweet nunchuck skills, or doing the robot. At one point he was even doing the robot while playing, looking like a member of hell’s version of the Rock-A-Fire Express. Musically the show was fantastic, with only a drum machine and Buckethead himself flailing away at the fretboard. It’s not easy to play fast and flawlessly, but he makes it look like a walk in the park.

Solo heavy guitar music is one of those things that you have to really enjoy to get anything out of it, whether you appreciate it from a technical standpoint or not. Judging from the crowd’s reaction during the show and after, Buckethead’s fans were as appreciative of him as he was of them.

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