Thursday To-Do: James Durbin | Rock Candy

Thursday To-Do: James Durbin

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James Durbin plays Juanitas Thursday.
  • Michael Scott Slosar
  • James Durbin plays Juanita's Thursday.

JAMES DURBIN
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.

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