After being turned away by the Memphis Grizzlies in a controversial use of the FedExForum's non-compete agreement, metal super-group Velvet Revolver rescheduled their concert at the legally exempt Desoto Civic Center. A combination of former Guns n' Roses players (guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Matt Sorum) with Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland, Velvet Revolver has a built-in cachet matched by the strength of the music on their debut album, Contraband, a return to guitar-(solo)-heavy mainstream metal that isn't cheesy.
As someone who liked everything about Guns n' Roses except for a lyric here and there (e.g., "Turn around bitch, I've got a use for you"), the notion of that music divorced from Axl Rose's personality seemed like a pretty good idea, but be careful what you wish for: Weiland's post-Pearl Jam bleating always came across as unintentional parody and with his recovering-junkie tales hooked up to this band's slick but powerful arena-metal, it all sounds like a bunch of self-regarding rock-decadence clichés to my ears. Of course, on the surface, it also sounds good. The band is sure to fill the Desoto Civic Center with head-banging noise when they play Saturday, November 6th.
With their heavy music spouting screaming guitar solos, you might have a difficult time telling openers The Datsuns from Velvet Revolver in a blind listening test. The principle differences are that the Datsuns' wailing lead singer sounds more standard-issue long-hair-metal than Weiland, and the band's music owes a little more to garage-rock and punk. These New Zealanders got ex-Led Zep bassist John Paul Jones to produce their latest album, Outta Sight/Outta Mind.
Local roots musician Bryan Hayes will celebrate the release of his debut album, Just a Man, at the Hi-Tone Café on Friday, November 5th. Produced by Kevin Cubbins and backed by guitarist Shannon Cooke and rhythm-section-to-the stars Mark Stuart and John Argroves, Hayes offers a skillful take on roots-rock and alt-country, with songs such as "Soundtrack," "Poplar Corner Road," and "Greatest Generation" boasting a lot of personal detail. Hayes will be joined by Kim Richardson (with whom he duets on the album's "Leave My Heart") and David Weatherman on the Hi-Tone stage Friday night.
Also at the Hi-Tone this week are a couple of high-profile weeknight shows. On Tuesday, November 9th, Athens, Georgia songwriter Vic Chesnutt returns. A paraplegic who was introduced to a wide audience as a result of the star-studded benefit album Sweet Relief II, where artists such as R.E.M. and the Smashing Pumpkins covered his songs, Chesnutt has since built a strong following based on his wry, prickly, literate songwriting. Chesnutt's last local show, alongside Andrew Bird, was a strong, well-attended affair, so expect the same this time around.
The next night, British singer Holly Golightly performs at the club. After cutting her teeth with the indie-rock cult band Thee Headcoatees in the early '90s, Golightly set out on a solo career that's less twee and more rooted in blues and folk. Golightly's cult got a big boost last year when she teamed up with Jack White for a song on the White Stripes' Elephant. Golightly hits the Hi-Tone Wednesday in support of her new album, Slowly but Surely. The Woggles open.