James Durbin at Juanita's
9 p.m. Juanita's. $13 adv., $15 d.o.s.
You will likely recall
James Durbin as the studded leather-clad young man from Season 10
of American Idol. A fan favorite who made it to the top four urging
viewers to "give metal a chance," Durbin brought a dose
of hard rock to Idol's mostly pop-oriented proceedings, singing numbers
by Guns N' Roses, Queen, Sammy Hagar and Judas Priest, who he brought
on the show for a wailing medley of Priest classics "Living After
Midnight" and "Breaking the Law." Durbin's on tour
right now supporting his debut album, "Memories from a Beautiful
Disaster." He was on Idol a couple weeks ago performing the earwormy
single "Higher than Heaven," looking like Darby Crash's
hunky little brother and sounding a bit like Sebastian Bach fronting
a crunchy post-nu metal outfit. In a recent interview, Durbin named
Ronnie James Dio as a primary influence. Dio's "music was so
heavy but the vocals were so smooth," Durbin said. "To hear
this operatic voice over these heavy guitars was just moving."
That a guy who did really well on Idol claims Saint Dio among his
influences would, on its own, be enough to make me root for him. But
Durbin also overcame Tourette's and Asperger's syndromes and struggled
just to be able to have normal interactions with people. Plus, he
seems like a really genuine dude who just loves metal.