Last Night: Buckethead at the Anaheim House of Blues

Not even the comfort of an ice cold beer was enough to curb the blazing body heat that filled the rafters of last night's Buckethead show at the House of Blues. Then again, a wall to wall turnout for one of rock-n-roll's most mysterious guitar gods should probably be expected. After all, it's one of the few times this year that hundreds of local musicians from age 14 to 44 can pay to stand with folded arms and slack jawed expressions while watching  a blistering display of musicianship in a county dominated by peddlers of four-chord punk fakery.

Coming together for what seemed like a match made in instrumental rock heaven, Buckethead's latest tour is supported by another slightly eccentric virtuoso by the name of, Than 1 Guy, also known as Mike Silverman.

The first thing most people notice about That One Guy when he steps on stage, besides the goofy Amish-style brim and funny side burns, is the 7 foot tall homemade instrument of galvanized steel standing next to him. This musical weapon of choice, dubbed "The Wonder Pipe" combines the muted boom of a stand up bass with a collage of effect loops, percussion and a descent dose of other crazy sounds. It is the main thrust of his signature style, if you can imagine Primus, Prince, Parliment and David Copperfield all rolled into one.

And as any fan of T1G will tell you, the only way to hear futuristic funk jams like "Buttmachine", "One" or "It's Raining Meat" is live.

 As he slapped feverishly on the twin metal shafts of his "Wonderpipe", it was engaging to watch T1G bounce back and forth between throbbing funk bass and drum sounds and heavy metal hits like Black Sabbath's "Iron Man". And when he wasn't wowing the crowd with his riffs, it turns out this guy knows how to pull off some cool card tricks as well, testing a few out as he played with the crowd before making a grand, funkdafied exit.

After the first act left the stage, signs of Buckethead's impending domination of the House of Blues were undeniable. In the midst of the churning crowd, fans sporting the bucket head uniform began to multiply as more and fans dawned the empty KFC bucket on their head accompanied by a plain white mask. I'm sure if you were to tell Buckethead, a.k.a. Brian Patrick Carroll, back in the day that he would make a living wearing an empty bucket of the Colonel's Original Recipe while playing guitar, it might have come as a little bit of a shock.

But in the decades since his first jump into the professional music world as Buckethead, he has certainly owned his mysterious persona and last night was no different. 

Besides wowing the crowd us with his over-the-top, masturbatory guitar playing, the mighty masked one definitely showcased his ability to lock into killer grooves that hopped genres from heavy metal to hip-hop. Backed by neon light and three performance artists in medieval-looking wizard garb, Buckethead used his nimble fingers and futuristic guitar effects to get fans tripping to songs that spanned a descent cross section of his massive album catalogue backed by drum and bass tracks.

But even greater than his guitar skills, err-almost greater, was the brief intermission during the set where Buckethead busted out enough skills to warrant a petition grant him official super hero status. Within a period of about five minutes or so, he put down his guitar and picked up his trusty nunchucks and amazed the crowd with his samuri skills. Oh yeah, and he even busted out so pop locking and robot moves before handing out a bunch of free merch to the crowd. Seriously, no wonder this guy wears a mask...he's got to be like a freaky multi talented alien or something.

By the time the show was over, Buckethead and That 1 Guy rejoined to shred for a final song that almost outlasted a third of the crowd, who seemed to be barely holding on after the two hour jam session. But for die hard fans and the people too drunk to make it out of the crowd early, the collaboration of metal rock riffs was the perfect send off into the night. 

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I'm not sure why Buckethead chose to switch out his old head gear for the plain white bucket. He needs to keep it OG and bring back the KFC.

Random Detail: Did anyone else see that fat drunk guy get carried out by three security guards during the middle of Bucket head's set? Now that's a real rock concert.

By The Way: For those that wish to one achieve their own guitar-god status, I'm pretty sure House of Blues still does weekly Guitar Hero competitions in the restaurant every Monday.

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