AFD DOES GNR
Welcome to the jungle, 2010-style. Axl Rose may still be floundering around, trying to drum up interest in his latest incarnation of Guns ‘N Roses, but the GNR that exploded into hearts and minds back in '87 with the Appetite For Destruction album, that's the one people are still interested in.
Axl, Slash, Duff, Izzy and the gang live on in the form of the band called Appetite For Destruction, which bills itself as "The Ultimate Guns ‘N Roses Tribute." AFD, which returns to the Jinx Jan. 15, began 10 years ago in Raleigh, N.C.
We spoke with vocalist Chad Allen, a resident of Atlanta these days, who nightly dons the tartans and headband and morphs into the screaming, swaying Axl Rose of the good old days. You know, the guy Axl Rose isn't any more.
How did the band get started?
Chad Allen: It was an idea that a friend of mine had. He started putting rumors around our hometown that we were gonna do a Guns ‘N Roses tribute band. He started bugging me about doing it, and I didn't want to do some stupid cover band. Eventually I just kind of gave in. I thought it might be fun, and here we are. I grew up loving that music. I used to cop (Axl's) style in high school, doing my own thing, but I would never admit to it.
What's changed in you that you've held on for 10 years?
Chad Allen: Well, we've always kind of made a little mockery of it, to ourselves, joke about being a cover band or whatever. But it's fun. It's good music, and people are receptive to it. It's our full-time job - once that fell in line it was like "This is pretty cool." You get to travel to other countries, and see things you normally wouldn't. Meet a bunch of people. So it's pretty awesome.
Do people expect you to be like Axl Rose offstage, or is it just a stage thing?
Chad Allen: It's just a stage thing. You see those tribute bands that try to keep that going, you know, hold on to some faux British accent or something, it's ridiculous. It's just a show. It's like theater, that's basically what it is.
There's a lot of nostalgia for Guns ‘N Roses. Does that surprise you?
Chad Allen: I just always thought that they were like the Doors of the ‘80s and ‘90s. They didn't stick around that long; they just kind of made their mark and fell apart. Not that say that Guns ‘N Roses doesn't exist - Chinese Democracy - but that classic lineup. It was the classic dirty, tough-guy rock band. Sleazy. And people like that.
Are you sick of it yet?
Chad Allen: You go through phases where you start envying your friends who have regular nine-to-fives, and have their weekends to themselves or whatever. But I am certainly not sick of the music, and I'm not really sick of the job - there's phases where I think I want to do something else, but then, if you start doin' something else, you miss the hell out of this.
Listen & learn: www.notquitegnr.com. At 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15 at the Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.
LEAH MARIA SUAREZ
The pride of Charleston performs for the Coastal Jazz Association. Suarez is a full-throated, passionate vocalist who sings in English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Swedish; she's of Mexican/American lineage, and jazz is in her blood. She once fronted the combo Toca Toca, which performed at Charleston's Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the inaugural South Carolina Jazz Festival and the Copenhagen Jazz Festival (in fact, Suarez lived in Copenhagen for a year before returning Stateside). An accomplished euphonium player, she's also a songwriter who's in the process of recording her first album - look for Suarez and her trio to play jazz standards, a bit of Brazilian samba and bossa nova, global folk tunes and a healthy selection of original material. Listen & learn: www.leahsuarez.com.
At 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17 at Westin-Savannah Harbor, Hutchinson Island. Tickets are $10; free for Coastal Jazz Association members.
CHRONICLES OF THE LANDSQUID
Swirling clouds of electronic noise, penny-arcade neon nightmares and propulsive dance beats announce the arrival of this instrumental power trio from Charleston. With suctions firmly planted in trance, groove, dubstep, jazz fusion, drum and bass - and wholly appropriate cheesy organ sounds - the ‘Squid has serious tentacles. I especially like Nick Caruso's piledriving basslines, which underscore the keyboards and the drums with a sort of dark, sinister ocean-bottom certainty. And hey, they come equipped with a trippy light show! Listen & learn: www.myspace.com/chroniclesofthyelandsquid.
At 10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14 at Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. With M.O. Theory. $10.
WORK O'THE WEAVERS
David Bernz, James Durst, Mark Murphy and Martha Sandefer have been doing the work of the Weavers (that most influential of classic folk music quartets) since 2003, performing their show - music, history and a few lessons in American politics - in 28 states. "Our mission," they say, "continues to be to tell the story of the Weavers in the context of their times, as well as to employ the music of the Weavers to relate something of our nation's history (lest we be doomed to repeat it); and all the time, to be enlivened by the music." The music, as we all know, included a big banjo-full of iconic songs like "Wimoweh," "If I Had a Hammer," "Goodnight Irene" and the definitive arrangement of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." Yes, it's a tribute band, but what a worthy tribute. Listen & learn: www.workotheweavers.com.
At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15 at First Presbyterian Church, 520 E. Washington Ave. $8 adults, $5 children/students. Sponsored by the Savannah Folk Music Society.