Shtick and Move
When promoters book an act into the International Ballroom, it usually means they expect a mess. In the case of Slipknot, promoters undoubtedly have already scheduled cleaning crews to break out fire hoses the next morning. But if the nine members of this relentlessly boorish, mask-wearing metal band from Des Moines, Iowa, had their way, they would pay the event staff to turn those hoses on the audience. The band's set is a Beavis and Butt-head sketch come to life, unwinding to a soundtrack of jackhammer riffs, samples and three overly enthusiastic drummers.
Not the first band to wear matching coveralls or rubber masks on stage -- and no doubt not the last -- Slipknot often has had its music overlooked. But that's the part of the band's act that has put it ahead of such rap-metal outfits as Insane Clown Posse, which donned the masks and adopted the wrestling shtick to make up for its complete lack of musical legitimacy, or GWAR, which can dump buckets of fake blood into the crowd but little else.
Drummer Shawn Crahan (a.k.a. No. 6) believes his life is a scene from Fight Club, and verbally craps on critics who stray from the party line: that Slipknot is completely original in every way. (Yawn.) Still, you wonder how far this we-don't-want-to-be-mistaken-for-Korn thing is going to go, considering Slipknot's percussive sound has already evolved past the frenetic rap 'n' rock of its 1999 self-titled debut. You get the idea that Slipknot could be a trendsetter if it would leave the poo-poo jokes and lighter fluid behind; then again, the band knows exactly what appeals to the angry little kids who pay the bills.
Slipknot performs with Mudvayne Friday, April 21, at the International Ballroom, 14035 South Main. For more information, call (713)728-9175.Zakir Hussain -- Aside from his talent, Zakir Hussain also has a pedigree that separates him from the pack. Hussain's guru, teacher and father was the late Alla Rakha, the tabla master who accompanied the legendary Indian sitarist-composer Ravi Shankar. Hussain was a child prodigy tabla player who began his professional career at the age of 12. Unlike other classical virtuosos, Hussain possesses a love of music that extends far beyond India's borders. He has lived with Grateful Dead stickman Mickey Hart, for example, and has learned the Afro-Caribbean drumming language; Hussain and Hart's collaboration on the album Planet Drum (Ryko) won a Grammy award. Hussain's 1998 session, Essence of Rhythm (Verve), was a revelatory look at the meaning of percussion within the complex, sophisticated sound of Indian classical music.
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Last year, when Hussain appeared in Houston, he performed with Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia, two of India's greatest classical players. This time Hussain is leading the Masters of Percussion 2000, a collaboration of six drummers and sarengi master Ustad Sultan Khan. This unique lineup brings together Hussain on the tabla, T.H. Vinayakram on the ghatam (clay pot), Bhavani Shankar on the pakhawaj (a two-headed, barrel-shaped drum), Fazal Qureshi on the tabla, Zakir's younger brother Taufiq Qureshi (who plays drums with India's premier rock band, Indus Creed) and Rajaram on dholki (a two-headed, barrel folk drum).
Masters of Percussion 2000 is a cosmic drumming circle, an experimental outfit consisting of some of the greatest groove masters in India. One part archaic classical tradition and one part cutting-edge adventure, this ensemble will release a lot of adrenaline in fantastic ways. Zakir Hussain's Master Percussion 2000 will appear Saturday, April 22, at 8 p.m. at the Wortham Center. For tickets, call (281)648-0422. (Aaron Howard)
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