Elusive acts headline local weekend shows

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Editor’s note: This is a weekly series showcasing the best live music of the coming week.

Texas Independence Festival 2012

In Austin, music festivals mean big crowds, big names and nightmarish traffic. Expect the opposite in nearby Maxwell, the site of this year’s Texas Independence Festival, whose lineup is about as well-known as Maxwell is populous (not very). Every year, Texans tote their camping and barbecue gear to Independence Fest for a three-day-long celebration of their shared heritage.

If you want a preview of this weekend’s musical festivities — perhaps you’re not as excited about the festival’s Zombicross races and custom car show — don’t bother checking Spotify. You’re better off hitting up the bands’ individual websites, most of which are fairly navigable.

A recommendation: If you enjoy punishingly loud Southern-fried metal, check out San Antonio’s Upon A Burning Body, one of this Saturday’s headliners.

Buckethead

For a heavy metal guitarist, a long-term gig with Ozzy Osbourne’s band is just about the best job in the world. It’s hard to believe someone turned it down for a bucket of fried chicken. But even this baffling decision is par for course in the inscrutable career of Buckethead, a world-class guitarist whose devotion to his instrument is only matched by his dedication to his gimmick: donning an upside-down KFC bucket and white plastic mask, an idea which Ozzy refused to indulge.

While the enigmatic Buckethead, who will be playing with That 1 Guy as the Frankenstein Brothers at La Zona Rosa this Saturday, has earned a reputation for the seriousness of his musicianship, his erratic behavior and bizarre persona have kept him from achieving the fame his playing deserves.

His sudden departure from Guns N’ Roses in 2004 prompted a (surprisingly literate) press release from Axl Rose, who wrote that “[Buckethead’s] transient lifestyle has made it impossible for even his closest friends to have nearly any form of communication with him whatsoever.”

His official website, bucketheadland.com, is one of the few channels of communication with him still open. But his amusing online biography, narrated by “Bucketheadland historian” Ron L. Witherspoon, only adds to the mythology surrounding the man beneath the bucket.

A caveat posted below the bogus bio clues in any overly credulous fans: “Stories may be apocryphal, hypothetical, metaphorical or completely made up. Bucketheadland attempts to keep this attraction as close to current scientific consensus as possible, within or without reason.”

The scientific community, however, has yet to reach a consensus on several conspiracy theories regarding Buckethead’s origins, such as whether he really grew up in a chicken coop and whether he is secretly the son of Colonel Sanders.

It’s hard to know what to expect from a Buckethead concert, aside from the obvious (i.e., a guy in a bucket playing neuron-nuking guitar solos). Don’t forget, even Ozzy Osbourne thinks he’s out of his mind. In an interview with Revolver, Ozzy explained his reservations about hiring the mysterious musician. “What happens if one day he’s gone and there’s a note saying, ‘I’ve been beamed up?’”

While the mystery of Buckethead may never be unraveled, there is one fact that fans agree on: The most insane thing about this otherworldly virtuoso is still his skill.

Published on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 as: Independent Music Festival, Buckethead top weekend pics.