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Live!: Diemonds (w/ Black Stone Hearts, Eagleson, Old James) 22/06/2012

Dirty, Nasty, and Sleazy…

Those are the best words to sum up the feeling that I had from the moment I walked up to Ritual‘s front entrance on Besserer Street. It’s a feeling that would carry through the entirety of the evening, and it was bloody excellent. This wasn’t one of the most technically awe inspiring shows I’ve seen, but it was certainly one of the most fun!

The evening started with a set from the new group Old James, a traditional Hard Rock/Southern Rock  group formed by the Stephenson brothers of Aggressor along with Spencer Levon of Fatality on Keyboard and Graham MacKrell on Bass guitar. Refreshingly different from Aggressor’s Thrash and Groove, Old James is a band that certainly knows how to get a good party started. Good Licks and tunes, coupled with the infectious energy and the jovial, almost comedic attitude of the collected musicians (especially Brian and Spencer, possibly the funniest guys in the room) all equal an entertaining band with miles of potential. The only problem was Spencer’s keyboards being nearly inaudible in the mix. Otherwise, the perfect start to the evening. (8/10)

Eagleson is a band that improves everytime I see them. Their Zeppelin-esque brand of rock continues to evolve as does their performance. This time around the band incorporated Native-American inspired, Genesis-influenced face-painting into their live and lively spectacle; a choice that could have been a bit overbearing and brow-beating had the guys not had the energy to play it off. They absolutely did, with the band members bopping around the stage and visibly having whole heaps of fun with their music. Alex De Paul’s vocals were a little muddy in the group’s live mix, but the man has enough personality to push forward the feel of his music without needing to hear every word said.  Looking forward to the next time I see this rockin’ tribal dance on stage. (9/10)

This was my first time witnessing a performance from Ottawa’s own Black Stone Hearts, and I was really unsure what to expect. What I got was a loud, raucous, sloppy, nasty joke from a group of absolute street urchins, and I mean that in the best possible way. These guys embody the spirit of Faster Pussycat and early G’NR, while channeling the blues influence of AC/DC and Cinderella. I’ve never felt closer to the Sunset Strip than during BSH’s set. Vocalist “The Surge” slithered around the stage like a reptile, spouting tales of sex, sin, and decadence, while guitarists Coup and George laid down the dirtiest riffs and the sloppiest, most drunken solos this side of Mötley Crüe (again, meant in the best way). The rythm section of Johnny (Bass) and Spliff (Drums) does a truly superb job of keeping the whole wasted, sex-addled mess from falling apart under it’s own sleaze. These guys put on a hell of a show and, mark my words, they’re a band to watch. (8.5/10)

The sleaze didn’t stop there however, as the assembled audience was in store for one more round, courtesy of Toronto rock sluts Diemonds. It’s an amazing testament to vocalist Priya Panda that she can sound 100% as crisp and clean in a live setting as on the band’s recorded output, competing note for note with her speed demon band mates. The whole group, infact, was probably the tightest of the evening, not missing a beat throughout their whole performance. This is without a doubt due to the fact that Diemonds has been a touring machine over the last weeks and months, opening for huge acts, including Slash, along the way. In any case, these guys have the feel of a fully-realized, professional outfit that I really can’t fully compare to anyone, but early Def Leppard and Australia’s Airbourne definitely come to mind at points. With a set of songs full to brimming with shout-along choruses, a high energy, booze-fueled stage show, and a gorgeous leather-lunged rock witch on the mic, well the sky’s the limit. Check ’em out before they’re selling out Scotiabank Place! (9/10)

Ultimately, if you came to this show looking for tunes that are technically challenging, ultra-heavy, or full of meaningful lyrical themes, you probably left a little dissappointed. But then you came to this show for entirely the wrong reasons ’cause this was nothing short of an honest to god rock ‘n roll party on all fronts. If it’s too loud, you’re too old!

Overall show score: \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m (8.5 out of 10)

One response

  1. Edited slightly at around 11:30 AM

    27/06/2012 at 11:35 am

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