Mastodon with Between the Buried and Me, Baroness and Valient Thorr
6:30 p.m. May 22 at Buster's Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester St. $25. (859) 368-8871. www.bustersbb.com.
Calling Atlanta's Mastodon a metal band is a bit problematic.
Sure, its initial recordings, especially the 2004 debut, Leviathan, a head-banging meditation on Moby Dick, suggested a frontrunner of a new guitar rock generation was in the making. High-profile performances at such noted summer bashes as Bonnaroo and Ozzfest added to the hype by establishing Mastodon's national reputation as a live act.
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Then came the curve ball. Having signed to a major label (Reprise) in 2006 — a creative death knell as far as most indie-minded rock crowds, especially metalheads, are concerned — Mastodon enlisted Brendon O'Brien as producer. O'Brien's clients include Metallica, Pearl Jam and AC/DC but also such comparatively mainstream acts as Bruce Springsteen, the Wallflowers and Train. The metal crowd feared the worst.
What resulted was Crack the Skye, an album of roaring, textured guitars with a flair more for modern prog rock than vintage metal, especially on the guitar dervish Oblivion and the epics The Czar and The Last Baron. Nate Chinen of The New York Times declared Crack the Skye to be "fantastic in every sense."
Mastodon makes its way to Lexington on Saturday with a boatload of guitar- rocking pals — three similarly loud and proud bands highlighted by the Greensboro, N.C., metal troupe Between the Buried and Me.
BrewGrass Festival featuring Colt Ford
5 p.m. May 22 at Applebee's Park, 207 Legends Ln. $15, $20, $25. (859) 422-7867.
Colt Ford's bio describes him as "a walking, talking, 300-pound celebration of country music and country living." And while the word rap is largely absent for the descriptions, onetime pro golfer Ford favors what he calls "spoken-word country." But his story-songs veer closer to vintage Johnny Cash and Charlie Daniels than Jay-Z.
Ford's initial singles have also employed a few Central Kentucky pals. 2009's Ride Through the Country teamed him with John Michael Montgomery. Ford also helped out Montgomery Gentry on a rap-style remix of its 2008 hit ballad Roll With Me.
Now with his second album, Chicken & Biscuits, a double Top 10 hit — it charted higher on the Billboard rap charts than on the country listings — Ford is hitting Lexington. He will be the featured performer at Saturday's BrewGrass Festival at Applebee's Park.
Beer tasting will dominate the festival from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Ford's performance is slated for 8:45.
Dylan at 69
Bob Dylan turns 69 on Monday. A pack of local faves — Coralee and the Townies, The Fanged Robot, The Other Brothers and Tula among them — will be paying tribute to His Bobness on Saturday with a Bob Dylan Birthday Bash at The Green Lantern, 497 West Third Street. (9 p.m. $5. (859) 252-9539.)
Dylan himself will resume touring next weekend, when he kicks off a five-week European tour in Athens. Yep, Greece might be broke, but it still has Dylan.
Neil and Bert
Neil Young will perform in Kentucky for the first time in 15 years on Wednesday. Some scattered tickets for his solo acoustic performance at the Louisville Palace, 635 South Fourth Street, still remain. (8 p.m. $86, $125. 1-800-745-3000.)
There is a bit of a second legend on the bill as well: Scotland-born song stylist Bert Jansch, whose 1965 self-titled debut album has been cited by Young as a keystone inspiration for his music.
In Sunday's Life + Arts, Jansch talks with us from his London home about the '60s, the Young connection and his continuing career renaissance.