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The noodle and the damage done: Yngwie Malmsteen shreds into New Orleans

The guitarist performs June 11 at House of Blues



In 2003, the music monthly Blender released its list of The 50 Worst Artists in Music History. Sitting at number 14, between Yanni (naturally) and Mick Jagger (recount?), is Swedish guitar god/devil Yngwie Malmsteen. (Factor in number 7 Asia, opening for Journey at the Smoothie King Center on Friday, and we have two of the top — er, bottom — offenders in town this week. Somehow, Steve Perry — or whoever now is playing him — was exonerated.) Blender ain't dere no more, a victim of the print pandemic that exsanguinated the ink of seemingly every rock rag not vaccinated with Jann Wenner's voodoo magic. But you probably can guess who is: Yngwie Malmsteen, still shredding his arpeggios from hell like victory cries atop the grave of every magazine that ever mocked him. To be fair, there's been at least as much praise thrown his way. TIME included him on its 2009 list of The 10 Greatest Electric Guitar Players — though even it couldn't resist a poisonous bon mot: "It almost makes you forget that the great bulk of his music is so fast that it's unlistenable." Unlistenable and yet compulsively listenable — these are the poles on which Malmsteen's technically dazzling, compositionally puzzling world rotates. Both will be on lip-biting display with this "World on Fire" tour, the latest in a three-decade elemental assault that shows no signs of abating. To be fair again, he did warn us via his last band album with Alcatrazz before going full Yngwie on 1984's canonical Rising Force: There is no parole from rock 'n' roll. Tickets $28.

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