When I caught “Celebration Day,” the new film of Led Zeppelin’s 2007 one-off London reunion concert, I marveled at how guitar icon Jimmy Page and his cronies (even drum heir Jason Bonham) truly rose to the occasion -- and how much fun it would have been to be there. Warren Haynes, known for his own guitar prowess in the Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule, was in that audience. Just a coincidence that the Mule performed Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy album on Halloween 2007 and keeps dropping tunes from that band’s catalog? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFuhOr2cMKI. The Mule kicks into the Orpheum Theatre Friday with new originals on the way. But if I had to bet on likely covers, I’d pick Jimi Hendrix over Zeppelin as a possible warm-up for this year’s Hendrix Halloween in Chicago. There’s another Friday night alternative at Royale in rootsy, Ohio-bred garage band the Heartless Bastards, fronted by feisty singer Erika Wennerstrom and now based in Austin, Texas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETIJUW9P4Lo&feature=related.
Saturday’s even busier, especially if you need to put in the legwork to wrangle a ticket to one of three choice sold-out shows. At this point, you might have heard of Rodriguez, the Detroit singer/songwriter who languished in obscurity (working in demolition and earning a philosophy degree) after his two early ‘70s records made him a cult hero in South Africa. He’s the subject of the new documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” and was just featured on “60 Minutes,” and he'll pack Johnny D’s Uptown for an early show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrFnJekygLk. Likewise, English singer/songwriter Laura Marling brings her thoughtful, angelic folk to Club Passim for a more intimate venue that her last visit to Berklee. So she used to date Marcus Mumford; it’s her own music that enchants: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjgG4z9sjzU. And Phish fans who can’t wait until the band’s four-night New Year’s run at Madison Square Garden (or Phish’s 30th anniversary tour next year) might catch guitarist/singer Trey Anastasio at the Orpheum Saturday. He’s out with his eight-piece band, including horns and percussionist Cyro Baptista, in support of his indie-flavored album Traveler, which sports a keen cover of Gorillaz’ “Clint Eastwood” (look for an empty chair?) and features a studio cast that includes members of the National. Anastasio’s also likely to toss in Phish favorites “Sand” and “First Tube” as well as more tempered new stuff into his latest Orpheum groove: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ox3hp1Vd61A.
As the leader and only constant of the Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan could well be touring under his own name as well. But there’s no brand appeal in that, and the shaven-headed singer/guitarist sounds newly inspired with his latest Pumpkins lineup on the new Oceania. They’ll play Agganis Arena Saturday, and in addition to waves from that album, you can expect nuggets like “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” (in case you want to feel like a rat in a cage) and “Cherub Rock” as well as covers of David Bowie and even KISS. Between talk of those makeup marauders and pumpkins, let’s look forward to Halloween (Stay away, Sandy). Here’s a fresh taste of Smashing Pumpkins from the new album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jVKARgBBfU&feature=related.