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A Barrel of Fun

by Elyse Beaudoin on April 4, 2012

Frankenstein Brothers
Northern Lights, March 30

Photo by Julia Zave

Two musical monsters, That 1 Guy and Buckethead, combined their power to make crowds come alive at Northern Lights last week. They first teamed up as the Frankenstein Brothers in 2008 when they released the Bolt on Neck album; now these two humble, yet very odd, performers have combined their musical genius and showmanship again for their current tour.

Before That 1 Guy and Buckethead jammed together as the Frankenstein Brothers, they played individually. That 1 Guy was up first on the Magic Pipe, a one-of-a-kind instrument created by the mad scientist himself. It’s a series of metal pipes with pivoting joints and bass strings hooked up to synthesizers and guitar pedals. This unique instrument fits with both That 1 Guy’s classic jazz bassist origins and his goofy affinity for sound effects and gags. Although his other signature instruments, including the Magic Boot and the Magic Saw, did not make an appearance, he did sport his usual all-black outfit and doubled-up Amish hat.

That 1 Guy opened with “Modern Man,” then addressed the crowd with his usual wolf howl and a “Thank you friends.” After making some silly spring sounds and doing drumstick tricks, he played “Packs a Wallop!” During the “duck, duck, goose” segment of the song, he took out a sock-puppet duck and proceeded to honk his own nose and punch himself in the face with it. He also played “Buttmachine” and “The Moon Is Disgusting,” then closed with a jazzy lounge tune.

Buckethead was up next. The legendary guitarist slowly stepped to the stage in his usual slasheresque garb consisting of black clothes, a white facemask and a KFC bucket for a hat. (Appropriately, he programmed a country & western song about Col. Sanders for his entrance.) Buckethead does not speak on stage, but once in place, he shredded hard, while seamlessly doing the robot and using creepy props. His massive hands ripped up tracks like “Soothsayer” and “Lebrontron.”

While exchanging toys with the crowd, Buckethead took a nasty spill off the edge of the stage. A few minutes later he was back on stage swinging around nunchakus.

After his set (and a quick breather), Buckethead was back to jam with That 1 Guy as the Frankenstein Brothers. They played “Bolt on Neck” and “Prototype #1” with a strong improvisational element. At times, it seemed as though the two of them were mimicking the other’s style: Buckethead pulled back on his fast-paced melodic shedding, and That 1 Guy eased off on his wild bass lines.

The Frankenstein Brothers seem to be more musically sound as solo artists, but it’s hard to deny the entertainment value of Buckethead playing a circus theme while That 1 Guy magically pulls a deck of cards out of his mouth.

The show opened with Wolff and Tuba, a one-man show consisting of the so-named man and his instrument. Wolff creates a part electronic and part traditional brass sound by hooking his instrument up to a synthesizer and looping tools. Using the soundboard allows him to create beats by drumming on the tuba and using the mouthpiece as a microphone.