Steve Vai is the Niagara Falls of guitarists: amazing. And you don't have to drive through crappy Buffalo to see this natural wonder. Vai's sick six (and sometimes seven) string-slinging caught the eye of Frank Zappa shortly after Vai left Berklee School of Music. After stints with Johnny Rotten, David Lee Roth and Whitesnake, Vai began to explore the depths of his guitar wizardry full time with his solo debut Flex-Able. So why is Vai so different from other rock gods? His borborgymus-textured guitar and conceptual evolution of music are all rooted in spiritual balance and a commitment to doing the world right. In 1988 ,Vai co-founded the Make a Noise Foundation, an organization that provides instruments and music education to young musicians who can't afford them.
Big Easy, 8 p.m., $23.50.
Boise Master Chorale
When I'm feeling down in the dumps about money, I remember this: In the late 18th century, even Mozart was nickel and diming things. This changed when Count von Walsegg's 20-year-old wife passed away. The count wanted two memorials for his wife: a sculpture and Requiem Mass to be played each year on the anniversary of her death. The count commissioned Mozart to compose the Requiem, which is noted as one of his most haunting and powerful compositions. Now the Boise Master Chorale and several soloists will perform the masterpiece.
Friday, Northwest Nazarene University, Swayne Auditorium, 8 p.m., $15,
Saturday, Morrison Center, 8 p.m., $22-$49, 344-7849.
It's like the battle of Tastes Great vs. Less Filling when it comes to people's preferences on all-star lineups of rockers plucked from other hot companies. There's Audioslave starring Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine and Velvet Revolver, which is made up of Scott Weiland on vocals (Stone Temple Pilots), Guns N' Roses alum Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum and Dave Kushner (Wasted Youth, Electric Love Hogs and Dave Navarro's band). To help fuel the fracas, Velvet Revolver is in town with the Electric Wonderland Show. Truth is, VR wants to be more than just the sum of its members; their sound is aggressive and defiantly forward-looking. "This is the first dangerous band that's come around in a while-truly dangerous," Duff says of the pairing. "People are going to say, 'Oh, a supergroup. These guys have everything.' ... But we're not coming at this that way. We really hope to bring some chaos back into the whole world of rock." Frankly, I'm still rooting for the Traveling Wilburys. Hoobastank, best known for their radio hit "The Reason," are opening.
Taco Bell Arena, 8 p.m. $38.50.
Buckhorn Mountain Boys
Nampa's traditional four-piece bluegrass band the Buckhorn Mountain Boys will once again tear the roof off the barn. The Bluegrass in the Barn series is an opportunity to check out snappy music and have some hay-stomping fun and get free refreshments when you're pooped from slapping your knee. The Boys stay true to the roots of bluegrass but mix in their own creative elements, and they put on a lively and engaging show. Also playing is Heavenbound Bluegrass Band, six well-dressed men straight outta Filer, Idaho.
Bluegrass In The Barn, 1822 W. Orchard in Nampa, 7 p.m. $8-10 suggested donation.
Folks may know Fantomas as the anti-hero in a series of French crime novels. What, you don't read antiquated French fiction? Ha! Well I let out the secret-that archvillain is the namesake of the band Fantomas, fronted by Faith No More singer Mike Patton. Shortly after the FNM breakup, Patton rassled up the members of Fantomas; he snagged guitarist Buzz Osbourne from the Melvins, bassist Trevor Dunn from Mr. Bungle (another Patton project) and drummer Dave Lombardo from Slayer. Since 1998, Fantomas has been working steadily to create an eclectic assortment of avant garde art metal. Their first album was an homage to sci-fi, then they recorded the best in film composition, then an album that was just one song. Their forth album is Suspended Animation, 30 tracks celebrating the art of cartoon music. Also playing are The Locust and Trevor Dunn's Trio Convulsant.
Big Easy, 7:30 p.m., $19.50.
Steve Kimock Band
Though the Steve Kimock Band defies simple categorization, Kimock himself is considered one of the music world's most talented improvisational guitarists. "So this is a jam band?" asks my accountant friend when I tell him we're going. Well, yeah, but it's not all hippies in homemade dresses. The Kimock Band is composed of renowned artists who can skillfully expand sonic boundaries. They explore innovative compositions with funk, psychedelic rock, jazz and various styles from other parts of the world. Kimock's got a truly original style, but don't describe it with the word "zen" or you may have a hard time bringing along your straighter-laced friends.
Big Easy, 8 p.m. $19.50.