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Scott Weiland

From Stone Temple Pilots to Velvet Revolver, not to overlook a couple of solo records and (gasp!) a Christmas disc, oft-emaciated Scott Weiland has a lot of material to put food on his table. Tonight, he’ll be performing what’s promised as two decades of the post-grunge crooner’s “greatest hits” in the intimate Highline Ballroom. Here’s to hoping for an intimate version of Scott’s Velvet Revolver single “Slither.”

Mon., Nov. 26, 8 p.m., 2012

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Slash

With Velvet Revolver on hiatus and a band still calling itself Guns N’ Roses clawing for a comeback (and eligible for the R’n’R Hall of Fame next year), everyone’s favorite top-hat-sporting shredder has to strike out on his own once again. Not that he’s done badly as a solo act; his new album is star-studded, and he’s reliable for ubiquitous guest appearances. His current singer (Myles Kennedy) isn’t in Axl’s league but, come what may, the S-man will surelyt unleash some bitchin’ solos throughout. With TAB the Band and Taddy Porter.

Tue., Sept. 14, 8 p.m., 2010

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Bitchin’ Songs of Faith and Devotion

“They were fucking awesome! Write that down!” barked a dude with potato-chip breath half an inch from my face when he saw me scribbling away during the Donnas’ set at the Highline Ballroom. Normally, his fragrant remark would’ve been poorly received. But I was in complete agreement: The Donnas were all that and a bag of chips.
The Bay Area quartet recently gave the finger to major labels, started their own record company (Purple Feather), and released the aptly titled Bitchin’ —14 tracks of big-hair, arena-worthy, horns-in-the-air rock ’n’ roll. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s perhaps the album they always wanted to make, but their own musical limitations and/or oppressive label heads prevented. Watching them fling their sweaty manes onstage, it became abundantly clear that Bitchin’ isn’t merely a rock album—it’s a gospel album. These four women positively worship rock ’n’ roll. They’re followers of a doctrine founded by Cinderella, Guns N’ Roses, Poison, et al. This is the bread and butter they were raised on—there’s nothing ironic to gawk at, so all you blaspheming dicksticks sporting Warrant T-shirts for shits and giggles can take a hike. Today’s hard-rock landscape is parched (Velvet Revolver blow, okay?), and Bitchin’ detonates a dam.

As refreshing as the Donnas are, there is definitely something methodical about their approach to celebrating rock ’n’ roll. For better or for worse, they unwaveringly honor tradition—from Donna A’s hand-on-hip stance to the almost stoic thunder of their new single “Don’t Wait Up for Me.” Every note of “Wasted,” “Like an Animal,” and “What Do I Have to Do” rang out with aplomb. The stiffness was evident, if unintentional. But there was an unabashed love and fervent desire to share their enthusiasm that mattered more. All you had to do was join the myriad fans pumping their fists in the air in time to the beat while bellowing all the lyrics. And when the Donnas covered Ratt’s “Round and Round,” no one that I could see looked anything less than freakin’ psyched.

A respected rock writer recently opined that Bitchin’ was so much in the vein of Def Leppard and Van Halen, he felt the Donnas were unfortunately straddling parody status. I don’t know if he’s right, but after tonight’s show, I can confidently say that I couldn’t give less of a shit. The Donnas could sit on parody’s face for all I care. Their love of and devotion to rock ’n’ roll is real; their love for and devotion to each other is real. Screw semantics. Come on, feel the noise.

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Plasma screens and loud music in a sports bar that rocks

With Billboard-magazine-pedigreed owners (including Duff McKagen and Scott Weiland of Velvet Revolver and Fuel’s Brett Scallion), an ’80s rock soundtrack, and a beer menu that boasts only two choices (Bud and Bud Light, $5 each), Chelsea’s Snitch is true to its billing as a “rock and roll sports bar.” The bar even keeps extended hours on weekends, practically staying open all night so the after-hours partyers can enjoy a 7 a.m. breakfast in one of the expansive, burgundy vinyl booths.

The decor is deceptively simple, featuring dark wood tables, 12 plasma-screen TVs, exposed beam ceilings, and gothic velvet curtains, and rates somewhere between a rec room from Cribs and a rock and roll Bennigan’s. The tiny, circular stage in the middle of the room is outfitted with instruments, always ready for a possible impromptu set, like the ones Velvet Revolver and the Killers recently played there. Snitch’s secretive name obviously refers to these big, hush-hush performances, as well as the bar’s semi-hidden second-story location, but for fans of bottled beer, loud music, and some unpretentious hell-raising, Snitch shouldn’t stay a secret for long.

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Power-metal maestros revel in motor skills

Spoiling any expectation of magic inside, The War Within advertises bonus DVD heavy-metal music tutorials for the kids—two for guitarists and one for drummers. Strength through the sweat and joy of drill sells: For Shadows Fall, art is when musical fitness and motor skills are pure, so the triumph of training must be shown.

Within these boundaries, The War Within is wunnerful, just wunnerful. The power-metal delivery is astounding and perfect. Although nothing is as memorable even in the diminished ways of the blowhard project Velvet Revolver, or damned peculiar like Finntroll, SF always punch the face on execution. So it doesn’t matter that the singing is a hackneyed screamer’s faux despair or the keening of a twerp; the brain suppresses both the same way it kills the out-of-kilter half of vision in someone who is walleyed. If you think there’s any genuine emotion , you’re confusing it with disciplined reflexes and mimicry.


Shadows Fall play Irving Plaza November 27.