Van Halen, The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band | Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Van Halen, The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band 

When: Wed., Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m. 2015
Price: $30-$162

VAN HALEN

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 9

WALNUT CREEK AMPHITHEATRE, RALEIGH—Do you need to be convinced that Van Halen were—and maybe still are—the ultimate American Rock Band? If you answer yes and you're not a rock radio DJ who's lost his way, then who are you? And what is wrong?

Eddie Van Halen is as good a guitarist as you've heard. He's a pop music mind who doesn't play beneath his abilities. You've probably heard "Eruption" a million times, and on the next go, you'll still think, "I didn't know you could do this with music." And has there ever been a frontman like David Lee Roth? Just YouTube him, and you'll soon understand our language to describe deities is limited. Subtlety is overrated, and Van Halen didn't need any of it, anyway. Their music explodes into pure energy jams like "Panama" and glides into Eddie's mellow solo pieces like "Cathedral" or "Spanish Fly." They are loud and rude and brilliant, the epitome of hard rock. Still, Eddie bestowed a solo upon Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and provided one of the hardest synth lines of all time with "Jump." Now that's progressive rock.

Like most every other aging band, Van Halen aren't their former selves, but enough remains that's worth seeing. Dave and Eddie's drama is a leading source of Blabbermouth fodder, sure, but at least they aren't Guns N' Roses. And bassist Michael Anthony's sweet backing vocals are long gone, but a son of Thee Shred Lord named Wolfgang replaced him. They could have done worse. Still, there will come a day where suburban dads stop ordering their own Frankenstrats, and "Yeah, Alex Van Halen and Peter Criss got me into the fucking drums, man" will no longer be an interview refrain. So for now, ease the seat back and enjoy a world with Van Halen while you can. The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band opens. 7:30 p.m., $30–$162, 3801 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh, 919-719-5500, www.walnutcreekamphitheatre.com. —Andy O'Connor

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