Okay, pretend Nirvana never forced hair bands into early retirement -- it can be pretty bleak to think about. But if you listen to the recorded output of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, you might hear something a little different. Not just soloing for the sake of showing off their chops and years of learning jazz chords, but honest-to-goodness songwriting, an expression of ideas and feelings without using words. Boulder's Wild Game likewise eschews prog metal and the insipidity of latter-day jazz fusion. Guitarist Joe Johnson's technical prowess is so refined that it's tempting to dismiss him and the rest of the band as bunch of GIT and Berklee grads. But Johnson and his mates are more energetic and playful than the stoic tough guys who typically populate the metal world. In other words, Wild Game (due at the Larimer Lounge this Wednesday, April 25) puts the fun back into fusion.
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