Joe Satriani and Mountain

Although the pairing of Joe Satriani and Mountain initially seems a bit incongruous, this double bill should have guitar enthusiasts wetting themselves with excitement, provided that fans from each camp keep an open mind. Satriani and Mountain's Leslie West, of course, have each made an indelible impact on the public's perception of the guitar, even if both are basically pigeonholed into their respective niches. A onetime teacher to a battery of guitarists who all went on to achieve recognition in their own right — including Steve Vai, Kirk Hammett, Alex Skolnick, Larry LaLonde, and Charlie Hunter — Satriani seemed to burst onto the scene in 1987 with his sophomore album, Surfing with the Alien. His combination of lyricism, otherworldliness, and, of course, chops presented listeners with a fresh, quirky vocabulary and continues to define his approach today. In spite of his apparent ambition and hunger to explore new avenues, however, Satriani rarely has been able to place the guitar in the context of a band dynamic, and his work has arguably suffered as a result. Mountain, on the other hand, was all about the groove and feel among the players, which makes these two acts the perfect complement to one another. Watching them approach the instrument from their disparate vantage points should only highlight each one's strengths.


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