The Rave – Milwaukee, WI
All photos by Paul Weber
James Durbin was the 4th man left standing on American Idol’s 10th season. He’s noted for delivering the rock to the American Idol stage. Not only does James deliver a wide vocal range, he also can pick up the guitar and play. Being the 4th man standing isn’t such a bad thing as James was quickly signed to the rock label, Wind-up records. Like other American Idol rocker, Chris Daughtry, James was in a metal band before hitting the Idol stage. Fans will notice that pre-American Idol albums from these rockers are heavier than their post American Idol albums.
Mr. Durbin hails from Santa Cruz, California and comes from a musically inclined family. His father was a musician and his life ended too soon with a drug overdose when James was just 9 years old. Today at 23 years old, he has a wife, a child, claim to American Idol fame, and a new album, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster.
Last night the Rave was set up with tables on the main floor and the venue pumped some Vertical Horizon and smooth jazz for the pre-show music. Since the Rave is set up to house 3 different stages of varying size, at times I wondered if I was at the correct one. If it weren’t for the DoryDrive signs stationed on the stage, I would have thought I was in the wrong place. The night kicked off with Tennessee/Milwaukee alternative rockers, DoryDrive. Their set started with a taped intro of music that had the crowd pumped, but the intro was too long. As the intro ended the guys walked on the stage, picked up their respective instruments and proceeded to tune them. It was a bit of a let down from the killer intro they created. Next on the bill was New Medicine. Out of all the night’s acts, New Medicine was definitely the edgiest of the night. This Minnesota band toured with the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, Stone sour, Hollywood Undead, and also took the side-stage on the 2010 Uproar tour. They weren’t so squeaky clean guys as DoryDrive as their set was filled with profanity, not that the crowd minded.
James was a good American Idol star by starting promptly at 10p.m. sharp. This was a huge contrast to the previous night waiting an hour and half just to get into The New Kids on the Block’s Jordan Knight’s show in Joliet, Illinois. The crowd was excited to see Durbin on the Rave stage other than the American Idol stage. He proved his raw talent right from the start. He was hitting octaves that would make Rob Halford jealous during “All I Want”. He also proved that he has more than just a knack for singing as he engaged the audience right from the moment he set foot on stage. He had the crowd eating from his hands and cheering on command between songs.
Near the beginning of the show, when James had the crowd wanting more, the rest of the band kicked in some solos. Drum and guitar solos are always cool, but when everybody is there for James it’s hard to get into the solos. Like DoryDrive’s intro music, the solos went on for too long.
Since James is fairly new to the big name and big stage, he should definitely catch an opening slot on a bigger summer tour. He would be a huge asset for a mainstream radio rock band. It’s kind of crazy that the only two shows James had lined up are in a 40 mile span of each other in the Midwest. It was a couple weeks ago James performed an acoustic show in Portland that fans can see here. So whether he’s onstage with a full band plugged in or stripped down acoustic, his talent shines through and shows the American Idol audience they might have made a mistake by not voting him as the American idol winner.
James Durbin’s “Stand Up” Music Video
All I Want
Higher Than Heaven
Right Behind You
Love in Ruins
Love Me Bad
James Durbin set photos:
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