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James Durbin - Viper Room

Viper Room April 12, 2012
by: Sherry Severino

Higher Than Heaven - Viper Room (video)

Liberate - Viper Room (video)


I don't know about you, but I find a lot more value in a concert review written by, well, somebody like me -- somebody who shells out some hard-earned money to be entertained. And let me tell you that I was extremely entertained by James Durbin and his band. He played to a sold out crowd, at The Viper in Hollywood on April 12th, right after his mind-blowing performance on American Idol earlier that evening.

He was scheduled to come on stage at 10pm right after Jared James Nichols and Vayden performed. As the time drew closer, you could feel the excitement and anticipation building up in the room. We saw the guys enter through the side of the stage, and once settled they started testing their instruments. As the announcer announced James' name over the speaker, the crowd went nuts. The curtains opened as he and his band kicked in to the song 'All I Want', off of his debut album Memories of a Beautiful Disaster. No soundcheck, no in-ear monitors in James' ears. Just pure, raw, talented music, just like the good ole' days. From the get go, everyone in the club harmoniously broke out in singing with him. It was magical. His voice and stage presence was powerful, captivating the entire audience. From the get go, the show was nothing short of phenomenal. As the song ends and goes into the next, he taunts and teases with everyone, asking us to be real quiet and then asking us to scream, kicking in their 2nd song called 'Screaming'. I'm quite familiar with all of his songs on his album and I wasn't sure if he was going to use some type of Vo Coder or his megaphone to distort his voice in this song. He chose the megaphone, I was happy. Megaphones are alot of fun, and I know James loved using them at his two prior electric shows. Pure adrenaline was pumping through the crowd. At the end he thanked all of us fans and announced that after his American Idol performance that evening, he watched his album go from #130 to #5 on the iTunes Rock Charts. The crowd went crazy with excitement!

The energy was pumping, as he sang Outcast, Right Behind You, and the awesome iTunes bonus track called Back For More. "This is one of those days you can come back for more, you just beg for it. It's a good fucking day right?", Durbin says to the crowd as everyone screams, and he blows a kiss to his wife, Heidi, sitting close by. As he goes into his next song 'Higher Than Heaven' he thanks all of his fans again for getting them to play this song on American Idol tonight, and teases all of us that maybe this will be his next single. This song was so amazing to watch him sing live, all the while singing it straight to Heidi the entire time. James, Dylan, Tyler, Blake, and Jeff tore the place up with this song, it was incredible to hear! The entire club was rocking hard, watching and listening to James' melodic vocals. On all the songs, thundering drums and brutal guitar licks dominated, while introspective lyrics were sung in that intense but cloying way that only a hard rock/metal singer (such as James) can properly deliver.

The next song he sang was his debut single called 'Love Me Bad'. Before he started the song, he talked about the Golden God Awards nomination that he received for best vocals. "We didn't win, but we didn't lose. As long as I got the respect, that's good enough for me." As he starts the first verse he tells the crowd to sing it instead. Every person in that club was singing the song. "That's a dream, you just fulfilled my dream.", he says as he reaches for another mic to sing along with all of us. What an amazing feeling, to know that we all just made a dream come true for James. At the end of the song he tells us, "Beautiful! And your harmonies were just perfect." Hhhmmm, not sure about that James! The next song is another iTunes bonus track called 'Liberate'. "We got this little song for you, it's about sticking it to the man. It's about saying fuck you to the man!" He has so much sex appeal, you can't take your eyes off of him. Reminds me a little bit of Jim Morrison in his heyday. As if the crowd was in a trance and going along for the ride with Durbin, and waiting to see what's going to happen next. His singing, his dancing, his fearlessness on stage. James' energy leaves you begging for more with every song. Liberate is a fuel pumping, heart racing, kick ass song. James makes rock come alive again, involving the audience at every moment. We were putty in his hands, laughing, cheering, singing, and chanting.

Before he sang his next song, he announced that there were two more songs left for the night. The crowd was not happy, we wanted more! He sang 'Deeper' and 'Stand Up'. Deeper rocked! That song is truely amazing live and by the end of the night his vocals were still spot on perfect. Before he sang Stand Up, he said they were late going on stage due to he & Heidi getting matching tattoo's. He said he had been thinking about this night for a few months and it was great to get the weight off of his shoulders. He tells everyone to stand up and comically says to his family "Stand up on your seats! If they tell you to get down, tell 'em to fuck off!" What a powerful song with a great beat. Really gets your adrenaline going. After the song was over, the curtains rolled shut. Everyone chanted for more, we wanted more! We weren't leaving until he came out and performed at least one more song. And the curtains reopened. His encore song of choice was "Love In Ruins". This song is awesome, and I'm so glad I got to hear it live! I loved this performance. I know that James has mentioned in the past that he loves to perform this song, and you could see the happiness and pure enjoyment in his face the entire time. Dancing and singing his heart out. When the song was over, he thanked his fans over and over again, and the curtains closed for the final time. This crazy good, wild ride was over. It ended all too soon. Evidence of such a blistering concert was etched on the faces of those leaving the show, mine included.
Sherry Severino

The Band:
James Durbin - Vocals
Dylan Rosenberg - Lead guitar
Blake Bunzel - Rhythm guitar
Tyler Molinaro - Bass guitar
Jeff Fabb - Drums

Set List:
All I Want
Screaming
Outcast
Right Behind You
Back For More (iTunes Bonus Track)
Higher Than Heaven
Love Me Bad (Debut single)
Liberate (iTunes Bonus Track)
Deeper
Stand Up
Love In Ruins