WEDNESDAY

The pairing of the legendary guitarist Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon (pictured, left to right), the quiet, mushroom-headed bassist from Phish, might seem like something concocted for a Bonnaroo side stage. Yet the odd couple has now been at it since their first album, Clone, in 2002, and the tour that came before it. Their collaboration brings together two cult followings with few overlapping members. (Generally, if you’ve heard of Kottke, you’re enamored of him; Phish, well, you know.) The music that comes from Kottke’s 12-string, which he’s been playing since the ’60s, sounds as if it were being produced by three guitars. One hand plays the lead, another strums the rhythm, and somehow a bass rhythm gets plucked out, too. I dare you to figure out how he does it. Gordon, barely out of diapers when Kottke started out, is like Kottke, known for his playful approach to music. The team blends together seamlessly, Gordon’s bass giving Kottke’s magical third hand a rest. A common knock against both Kottke and against Phish—that all their music sounds the same—carries over to Kottke and Gordon. Whether they’re covering Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion,” Phish’s “Ya Mar,” or the Kottke standard “Rings”—all of which appear on their new album, Sixty Six Steps—it wouldn’t be easy for a casual listener to tell the difference. But then again, it all sounds good, and Kottke breaks it up in their live performances with witty and provocative storytelling. Kottke and Gordon play at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $27.50. (202) 397-7328. (Ryan Grim)