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Grades, Stomps and Rhodes 

That ain't the real axl.We're still icing our eardrums after a busy weekend of live music and figured we would have recovered by now. But

That ain't the real axl.
We're still icing our eardrums after a busy weekend of live music and figured we would have recovered by now. But hey, it's a good sort of hurt, you know? The sort of pain that you can put up with if it means you get to see the sort of bomb-diggity shows we did since last week's riotously awesome and overtly self-aggrandizing edition of this column.

Thursday night we made a stop at Boondocks for a completely costumed set by Appetite for Deception, a, you guessed it, Guns N' Roses tribute band that we graded as such. Dress: B+...Excellent pant tightness, great bandana usage, only knock was the gratuitous Axl costume change - into polka-dotted tights nonetheless. Vocals: A...that dude really sounded like Axl. Arrogance: C-...when we go to see a GNR tribute, we, as an audience, expect to be treated with little, if any, respect. These Appetite guys were like friendly crossing guards.

Friday night, we got our Bite of Bend weekend started in style at the Old Stone with the Portland gritty blues blasters of Hillstomp. Like always, there was a hardy and hard-drinking crowd on hand as the duo unleashed a quintessentially Hillstomp-esque set of raging numbers that got a clearly loyal and sizeable group of local fans stomping along.

Saturday saw us down at Bite of Bend just in time to see David Bowers Colony rocking some rootsy originals. They then gave the stage up to Dusty Rhodes and the River Band, just in time for a wickedly cold wind to blow through downtown. But Dusty Rhodes, all six of them, took the stage and gave what Sound Check is already calling one of the best Central Oregon shows of the year. Playing a few cuts off their new album, Palace and Stage, while tossing in a cover of The Band classic "The Weight," Dusty Rhodes provided a high-energy, genre-crossing, toe-tapping, fist-thrusting set of awesomeness. Too bad the chilly temps and a nearby marathon fire show resulted in about a quarter of the amount of people that should have been there. Y'all missed out. You wish your eardrums were this bruised, don't you?

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