Diamond Rings Gets Gloriously Androgynous at Rickshaw Stop

Categories: Last Night
Diamond-Rings-1.jpg
Diamond Rings at Rickshaw Stop last night.
Diamond Rings
P.S. I Love You
March 7, 2011
@ Rickshaw Stop

Better than:
Relying on the ballet or pastoral art scenes to get your fix of pretty.

There's an argument floating around amongst a certain segment of indie rock fans that the genre has become too pretty. That the angsty noise of bands like Sonic Youth and Pavement has been traded in for the nostalgic pop stylings of the '80s, when form followed function and feedback was considered a sin.

Diamond Rings' John O'Regan could be a posterboy for the Pretty movement in indie rock, and not just because he wears eye shadow, boasts a boyish figure, and wears a sassy mop of blonde hair. It's also because of the music: the gaudy voice, the clean production, and the synthetic aesthetic that once made bands like Talking Heads seem both poppy and bizarre.

Diamond-Rings-2.jpg
A solo performer -- and by performer we mean a Princeian diva -- John O'Regan is the wide-eyed freshman on the scene, vaguely innocent but assured and mature. The Toronto-based musician's background is a study in contradictions. He grew up reconciling athletic instincts with his artistic passions, so when he flung his body like a modern dancer onstage at Rickshaw Stop last night while wearing spandex and singing an octave or three lower than his actual range, the mental disconnect between his androgynous appearance and testosterone-y voice was reconciled.

A full band could easily perform the instrumental tracks he sings over, but that also might distract from the spectacle that is O'Regan. On his set opener, "Play by Heart," he stuck to just the mic and some aggressive shimmying. He made his way to the keys for a quick clean riff toward the end, a jangly version with a more traditional piano sound than what we find on his resonating debut album, Special Affections. The swirling dance beat of "On Our Own" and the boner groove "It's Not My Party" also benefitted from a more organic approach on the keyboard.

When he picked up the guitar, problems started happening, though to no fault of his own. On "Wait and See," he broke a string -- this after complaints of getting some electrical shocks from the instrument. He seemingly relished the adversity. "I just don't wanna die, because then the show would be over. I'm sure you'd get refunds ... This is life or death, San Francisco." And before he went to grab another guitar during "Wait and See," he told us, "the thing about being a solo performer is that when you break a guitar string you can't pretend it was supposed to happen ... It's as though the West Coast is conspiring to not let me play guitar." We'd get used to the charm and charisma, but it never gets old.

Diamond-Rings-3.jpg

When everything returned to its proper order, he wielded a fine axe, masking simple chord progressions with swinging showmanship. Later in the set, he stripped down the components of "Give it Up," which, probably because of the rain outside, reminded us of this video of Gavin Rossdale performing "Glycerine" all by his lonesome. But late-night dance anthems are what gives Diamond Rings his shimmer. At times we were reminded of the moody countenance of Junior Boys and Hot Chip, with fist-pumping seemingly as important as looking good while doing it.

If Diamond Rings is the pretty side of indie rock, opener P.S. I Love You proudly exists on the other end of the spectrum. This duo shrieks Tourette's-like with Paul Saulnier's guitar and vocals and drummer Benjamin Nelson's reliable stick work. Saulnier sounds a bit like Spencer Krug of fellow Canadian band Wolf Parade, his voice similarly haunted and possessed and shrill. Seemingly a cross between Kevin Smith and Hurley from Lost, Saulnier clearly has a rare connection with his guitar. He comprehensively works the fret board, searching out riffs in counterintuitive ways and finger-tapping at times as a paean to Iron Maiden, we guess.

PS I Love You with Diamond Rings.jpg
PS I Love You with Diamond Rings
One criticism: Feedback is clearly part of their musical DNA, but their amps were set at 11, and they needed to be at maybe an 8 in a half-full Rickshaw.

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Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Chris Trenchard @ChrisTrenchard, and like us at Facebook.com/SFAllShookDown.

Location Info

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Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, San Francisco, CA

Category: Music

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Nseolink
Nseolink

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David
David

I just saw Diamond RIngs and PS I Love You put on a great show at the Vera Project in Seattle and blogged about it here (including some crappy video): http://virtualsoundnw.blogspot...

Jack Dosan01
Jack Dosan01

 

HelloWebmaster,

Iam a webmaster of jewelryrelated websites; I've found the post on your website(http://blogs.sfweekly.com/shoo...)that describes our site’s objective and content in an effectivemanner.

I’llhighly appreciate if you can give us a quote to put one hyperlinkof ours on this post on our desired text for a period of3months/6months /1 year. We’ll make the payment via PayPal to thePayPal id provided by you.

Example:

YourExisting Post:

TheMobileStore offers the latest and best mobile phone deals withExclusive prices, buy mobile phones, cell phone accessories, prepaidand postpaid.

YourPost With Our link:

TheMobileStore offers the latest and best mobile phone deals withExclusive prices, buy mobile phones, cellphone accessories, prepaid and postpaid.

Pleaserevert with your quote.

Lookingforward for a long term relationship with you.

Thanks,

JackDosan

jack.dosan01@gmail.com

Chris Trenchard - SF Weekly
Chris Trenchard - SF Weekly

Just to clarify, I like to post things and write "we" instead of "I" because I like to rope more people into my stupidity than just me. Otherwise I'd just be a crazy asshole. This way, IT'S ALL OF OUR FALUTZ!

Randy McHalffull
Randy McHalffull

Nice burn on how the Rickshaw was half full. Really subtle. I wish all of Chris Trenchard's friends had been there. Then it would have been bursting at the seams. Instead, only Christopher Trenchard's friends were there, and they only show up when he pusses out and starts posting under a different name after his reviews start getting too many negative reviews because he's an idiot. What a shame.

No Fatties
No Fatties

I really liked how you compared the guitar player to Hurley and Kevin Smith because he was fat. And all fat people look the same. Aren't they awful? Ew. I can't believe they don't look like you and I do, aka. NORMAL. RIght? RIGHT?!?!?!?!

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