Photo: Norman Wong
Diamond Rings At Variety Playhouse In Atlanta
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Arjan Writes
As one of the bright new acts in music, Diamond Rings brings a unique, genre-mashing energy and distinct point of view to the pop scene. Canadian John O'Regan, under the name Diamond Rings, stirs up a potent brew of electro beats, flaming rock guitars and pop-savvy melodies that cannot easily be pigeonholed. Diamond Rings puts forth an all-inclusive sound that gives meaning to his empowering lyrics about the importance of individualism and experimentation. "We don't need a label or an antiquated fable to define what we are unable to describe," the singer aptly explains on his new track "All The Time."
Hot on the heels of the release of his new single, "I'm Just Me," on Sept. 28 Diamond Rings stopped by Atlanta's iconic Variety Playhouse in the historic Little Five Points district to play a set of new tracks and fan favorites as part of his North American tour to introduce his forthcoming sophomore album, Free Dimensional, due Oct. 22.
Dressed similar to a modern-day Elvis Presley in tight white jeans and a fitted white leather jacket that was adorned with a diamond-studded collar, Diamond Rings kicked off his set on a high note with "All The Time." The tune instantly energized the crowd with its sparkly, kinetic house beat and welcoming lyrics. "Come a little closer, I don't mind. I want to be with you now," he sang.
Following his blazing opening tune, Diamond Rings switched things up with the gritty rock-edged stomper, "Wait & See" from his debut LP, Special Affections. He then seamlessly segued into a glammed-up version of "Runaway Love," a song from Free Dimensional that he recently shot a video for in Montreal.
Taking a page from dance/electronica artist Robyn's playbook, Diamond Rings and his band unleashed a dance party with the performance of "Hand Over My Heart." The tall, lanky singer even took off his jacket and sunglasses to show off some of his dance moves as he bounced across the stage. He added some polish to the performance with a fiery, self-affirming rap to underline his "free dimensional" attitude. "I believe in taking chances, changing up the circumstances, learning steps to difference dances," he rapped to a cheering audience while balancing on a speaker.
The show reached a boiling point with an epic rendition of "I'm Just Me," a personal song about the inner conflict Diamond Rings struggled with growing up.
"When I had a young heart, I got a late start. I was too afraid to love. I was afraid of my body or anybody," he sang. "Now I'm growing older, I'm getting bolder, confident in my own skin."
Diamond Rings and his band concluded the 40-plus minute set with "Day & Night," a happy-go-lucky pop romp about the joy of falling in love that once again had the singer dropping a few rhymes to create just the right amount of sizzle.
It was a fitting finale to an impressive live show that not only showcased Diamond Rings' growing confidence as a showman, but also highlighted his evolving brand of pop.
"All The Time"
"Wait & See"
"Hand Over My Heart"
"A To Z"
"I'm Just Me"
"Day & Night"
To catch Diamond Rings in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
(Arjan Writes is the GRAMMY.com Pop Community Blogger. He is a pop music fanatic who scours the Earth for sweet and crunchy new pop. You can get loads of pop tips at www.arjanwrites.com and www.facebook.com/arjanwrites.)