Diamond Rings Drake Underground, Toronto ON August 23

Diamond Rings Drake Underground, Toronto ON August 23
Yes, a film trailer is a commercial. Distilling a movie into a perfect, quick-cut nugget, it is often doomed to misrepresent and over-hype its full-length counterpart. Conversely, in certain glorious cases, it acts as a worthy preview. You won't know until you see more. Either way, it's bottled promise, and in this age of diminished attention spans, it's also an art form (see The Holiday).

Essentially, Diamond Rings' (aka John O'Regan) brief warm-up gig was a trailer for the Toronto act's highly anticipated, forthcoming sophomore album. While O'Regan and co. didn't play the entire record -- or any old faves -- they did offer a moderate-sized sampling for the invite-only crowd. Naturally, they also provided hors d'oeuvres.

Clad in a white dinner jacket with shimmering lapels, O'Regan turned up with a real-live band, finally doing away with his long-running solo shtick -- an enthralling yet limited dervish of herky-jerk dance moves and samples.

Apparently, the impending Free Dimensional hangs its chart aspirations on a compelling pairing: buoyant electro pop and O'Regan's trademark baritone, both of which took turns in the spotlight.

On single, "I'm Just Me," O'Regan's vocal melody rode the back of the downbeat before breaking big for a towering chorus (see Days of Thunder). Similarly, "Put Me On," brought out new wave keys then kicked into fifth gear for the catchiest song of the night. Whatever the cut, the fleshed-out sound was a welcome evolution.

A closing countdown number, replete with Neneh Cherry-indebted rapping, was the only real misstep in an otherwise appetizing set. Sure, it wasn't an entirely satisfying show but trailers aren't meant to be. On a related note, the pre-game canapés were a nice touch.