“Hark at you, with your fancy new Roland drum pads”, I say to JohnO, aka Diamond Rings. “Yeah, everything is new,” he beams, sweaty, after a monumental show at Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret, little girls bouncing around him like PopRocks. “We kinda needed it for the big tour in the US,” he says. “But I bet yer happy to be back in Canada,” I sez. “Oh yeah,” the prettiest boy in alt-pop replies, “Corey Hart!” (Turns out when they crossed the border, “Sunglasses at Night” immediately came on the radio, he explained during the gig. But “I’m not gonna play it.”)
So, to the gig. PS I Love You, John’s best mates from Kingston, Ontario opened. Comprised of Tetris-playin’, guitar shreddin’, peddle hoppin’ Paul Saulnier on guitar and skittish drummer Benjamin Nelson, PS I Love You sort of pwnd. Paul remarked that we – YES, YOU VANCOUVER – were the biggest and best crowd of the tour. He thanked us. Sincerely. Gods bless Canadians, we’re so fucking polite. But then he pummeled his guitar until its strings, I’m fairly certain, disintegrated. Then Diamond Rings came on and raged and indie-rocked through “Leftovers”. And it was good.
Shitty film. Cool band. PS, I like you.
As for John O? Well, the lad is, as my wingwoman stated, “magic”.
Diamond Rings is equal parts neon bright colours and gangly tree-limbs, smeared lipstick and a great shaved head, amazing sweet lyrics and Casiotone overload. Sure we’d like to hear the next album with a few more instruments, maybe a band even, but Diamond Rings can do very little wrong.
He’s hard-working, ridiculous-dancing, hightop flailing, guitar-wailing. And at the end of every song, he’d grin, smile-wide, as if to say “Yay me! I did it!”. The girls creamed, a man with a fannypack crowdsurfed, frat boys nodded, 40-something rockers dug it and everyone sang along. “Play By Heart” opened (hurrah for fist-pumpin’ the sky!), and a Johnny Cash-y guitar version of “Give It Up” closed. It was the stuff unicorns are made of. \m/