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Buckethead, Kid Beyond @ GAMH, 2/15/08

February 18, 2008

Any loyal reader of this blog will know that the beginning of 2008 has been lacking my usual show or two a week review. While the main problem has been the usual light schedule that plagues January, but unfortunately, illness has been the culprit as well.

My much looked forward to Buckethead show was cut short by my bout with The Plague. I spent the majority of last week on a steady downward spiral. But, since I’m that much of a music junkie, I hopped myself up on lots of legal drugs and proceeded to the show.

On a normal day, I might have found Kid Beyond enjoyable. Inventive, even. But tonight he just annoyed me. I wasn’t the only one- there were several hecklers that outwardly expressed my sentiments for me. And I’m into the human beatbox thing, I really am….I just found his material to be a bit touchy feely and the shine off his bald head worsened my already seething headache. I’ll give him another chance on a day where I have a clean bill of health.

Bring on the Bucket. First, I must admit that Buckethead did not make my Top Ten Favorite Guitarists list. Let me explain. Apart from a brief stint with GNR, Buckethead is a mostly solo act. I really like the guitar, but I really really like it when it’s a part of something else. Nonetheless, there’s something so mysterious and intriguing about Buckethead.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Buckethead is a 7 foot tall (with bucket), white ‘Michael Myers’ mask wearing guitar shredder who claims to have been raised by chickens in a coop. Seriously. The bucket was originally KFC, but has since shed the logo (I doubt KFC knew what to do with that as a sponsorship opportunity).

As we waited for him to come on stage, I watched the front row fans put on their KFC buckets and masks. I wondered if they got them from the KFC around the corner, and what that KFC must have thought when some metal heads walked in the door asking for unused chicken buckets. Then there was the rumor sharing. “He wears the mask because he’s Asian, and he knew he wouldn’t fit in a metal band”. “The hair’s not real, it’s part of the act.” Everyone has a theory. But does anybody know the truth?

Buckethead finally comes out, to his usual robotic dance opening, which is really too much to take. Even in my state, I had to let out a little “whoop”. No wonder he can play guitar so well- his hands must be twice the size of a normal humans, even for his stature. Then he starts to play, and the crowd is in the giant palm of his hand. I wish I could go into greater detail, but refer to the video of a similar show. At about song 6, it felt like he was literally shredding my face off, and I had to skedaddle…but I rest assured that the show continued on spectacularly.

Buckethead performance: 8.5/10
Kid Beyond performance: 6/10
venue (12 Galaxies): 8.5/10
crowd/scene: 6.5/10
value ($25/ticket): 7/10
memorable: 7/10 (would have been higher had I not been sick)

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