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Spotlighted Gigs & Recommended Shows 

Appetite for Destruction

This professional tribute act works hard to replicate the look, feel and sound of vintage Guns ‘N’ Roses, playing everywhere from small bars to large venues like the Georgia Theatre in Athens. Regardless of your particular take on the relative merits of the iconic metal band they’re celebrating/impersonating, the sheer nerve of scaling down such epic arena monstrosities till they fit inside a 120-person bar is easily worth witnessing in person.

The last time I caught them at this venue, I arrived just as they were tearing through the ferocious single “You Could Be Mine” (from the Terminator 2 Soundtrack), in front of a crowd that looked as though it had been beaten into submission by the sheer force of this group’s collective will. It’s not uncommon for these professional tribute bands to sell out this room, so grab a ticket sooner rather than later if you want to get in.

Appetite for Destruction

Listen & Learn: notquitegnr.com. When: Fri., 11 pmWhere: The Jinx.Cost: $13 adv. / $15 DOS.

Junkyard Angel

With members drawn from notable groups on both the Savannah and Athens alt.country scenes, this gritty, "Cosmic American" roots-rock sextet has a fairly distinguished pedigree. Lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist Stewart Marshall made a name for himself in the late '90s as one of the leaders of the nationally touring "Y'allternative" band Stewart & Winfield, and other members have done stints in The Park Bench Trio, Remy Zero and other established acts. Their sound is a slow-cooked goulash of wine-soaked No Depression clichés (which in this context is a positive rather than a negative). Those who appreciate the woozy, beleaguered, pedal steel-glazed ennui of vintage Steve Earle, Jayhawks or Gram Parsons records will find Junkyard Angel's well-chosen covers and bittersweet pastiches of classic rock and roadhouse country a fine complement to a cold beer and a momentary twinge of regret for a lost love. Listen & Learn: myspace.com/1junkyardangel. 21+ only w/ID. Sat., 11 pm, Locos (downtown).


Mestengo

It's rare indeed to have the opportunity to hear some seriously authentic norteño music in Savannah, but this afternoon show (part of the museum's Frida Kahlo Fest is just such an opportunity. Based in Fl. and led by master button accordionist Tomàs Granado (who's been leading his own bands for almost 40 years), in 2007 they nabbed a Florida Folk Heritage Award for their accomplished take on Mexico's adaptation of the polka-style rhythms introduced in their country decades ago by German and Czech immigrants. This is festive, uplifting, dance-oriented folk music that's ideally suited for fun-loving kid and adults alike. Free admission, courtesy of the City of Savannah. Info: telfair.org. Sun., 3 pm, Jepson Center for The Arts.


The Rite of Swing: CJA's Tribute to Duke Ellington

For the past 21 years in a row, the Coastal Jazz Association has been saluting this legendary American pianist, composer and band leader on the occasion of his birthday with a large-scale concert. These shows feature Ellington's music performed by the local all-star conglomeration known as the Savannah Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of trombonist Teddy Adams and saxophonist Randy Reese. It's a show that's eagerly awaited by local jazz buffs, and particularly by fans of the honoree, one of the single most influential and inspiring figures in the world of modern music.

This year's event finds Atlanta-based Sam Skelton billed as the orchestra's special guest. Skelton's a versatile multi-instrumentalist woodwind player (sax, clarinet and flute) who' is said to be in great demand for both studio and live work. An artist in residence at the University of Georgia's Jazz Dept., to date, he has performed with The London Symphony Orchestra, The Atlanta Symphony and other notable orchestras. He'll be joined by vocalist Priscilla Albergottie Williams, who some may know for her contribution to the Savannah Jazz Orchestra's live CD Satin Doll, which found the group interpreting compositions by both Ellington and Johnny Mercer.

Sponsored by the City of Savannah's Cultural Affairs Dept. as part of Jazz Appreciation Month, the show (which takes place on what would have been Ellington's 109th birthday) features both well-known and obscure tunes, and is free to the public. It takes place in the Armstrong Center for Professional & Continuing Education, AASU's newest performance space (formerly the Publix supermarket), across from the Savannah Mall. Info: coastal-jazz.org or 675-5419. Sun., 5 pm, Armstrong Center (11935 Abercorn St.).


The Savannah Country Day School Choir presents: Mozart's Requiem

For this free concert of the legendary composer's final work, the student choir (led by Choir Director Maya Roos) will be joined by "distinguished members" of the Savannah Choral Society, led by Artistic Director Peter Shannon, who's viewing this as an excellent opportunity for educational outreach. Info: savcds.org, savannahchoralsociety.org. Sun., 4 pm, First Presbyterian Church (520 Washington Ave.).


IIIrd Tyme Out

It's not at all uncommon for Randy Wood to host some of the biggest names in the world of acoustic bluegrass at his cozy, 100-seat listening room, and this quintet from Cumming, Ga. fits that bill nicely. They've been around in one form or another since 1991, when they burst on the scene, and have remained one of the biggest-selling acts in their genre. If their peer recognition is any indication, IIIrd Tyme Out is near the top of the heap. Over the course of the band's career, they have earned a staggering seven consecutive Vocal Group of The Year awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association, two Male Vocalist of The Year trophies and Band of The Year from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass in America. One journalist recently proclaimed them "perhaps the most complete (bluegrass) band of the past two decades." If you want to see what all the fuss is about, reserve a seat soon, as this show will likely sell out. $25 tix at the door, randywoodguitars.com, or 748-1930. Listen & Learn: iiirdtymeout.com. Fri., 8 pm, Randy Wood's Concert Hall (1304 E. Hwy 80, Bloomingdale) - ALL-AGES.


The Panic After-Parties

Even after the last member of Widespread Panic has left the stage at the Johnny Mercer Theater Wednesday night, there are still plenty of options for hopped-up ticket holders (and those who simply couldn't score a seat for this eagerly awaited two-night stand) to catch some great, organic rock music. A few clubs are hoping for a late-night influx of energized concert goers, and have booked Spreadhead-friendly artists of their own.

Locos on Broughton St. welcomes the return of Abbey Road Live, an Athens-based Beatles Tribute specializing in later-period works by that iconic pop band (they've also been known —not surprisingly, given the name— to perform a fairly faithful approximation of the entire Abbey Road LP from start to finish). Their lineup includes members of the Grateful Dead Tribute Cosmic Charlie, as well as some cats who used to be in the Fuzzy Sprouts, one of the best Classic City bands you never heard. Local psychedelic funk outfit Mr. Wiley opens the show.

A few blocks away at River St.'s Live Wire Music Hall, acclaimed local improv-oriented organic rockers Turtle Folk (fronted by Michael "Turtle" McCormick) headline downtown's newest dedicated live music venue, with support from opening act Sherman Ewing & The Hoodoo Revival. Ewing is a NYC-based singer/songwriter with a great voice and a new album of supple, funky swamp-pop that features a who's who of ace session and road players (including Panic's own JoJo Hermann). While not yet well known in the South, he seems poised for much bigger success, so now may be a good time to be able to say you saw him when.

Meanwhile, out on Tybee, Terrapin Station presents the infamous Aquarium Rescue Unit leader and former CodeTalker Col. Bruce Hampton (plus his latest project, The Quark Alliance) for a night of absurd profundities, head-scratching guitar runs, and Zappa-meets-The Allmans chicken-fried fusion. All in all, interesting shows all around by talented, worthwhile groups on the club circuit. Take your pick — you can't go wrong. Just drive safely if you head to the island. Listen & Learn: abbeyroadlive.com, myspace.com/mrwileybandrocks, myspace.com/turtlefolkmusic, shermanewing.com, colbruce.com. All shows are believed to start at approximately 11 pm.

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Jim Reed

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