Contrast is a great word to describe the stand-out performance of Diamond Rings at Pop Montreal. There was a conflict of style and generational influence as John O'Regan's Bowie-esque appearance and baritone vocals — not unlike those of Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan — felt like they belonged in a different era, a feeling made more prominent by the disco balls hanging overhead and the glow-in-the-dark strings on his guitar. Contrast could also be seen as the eccentric vocalist appeared as a blur flying across the stage dressed completely in white while his band in black followed along in the shadows. The presence of the musicians in itself was an example of adverse elements, as the show marked the first real performance with a full band for Diamond Rings, who made his name flying solo.
But make no mistake, O'Regan was still the star of the show and rightly so. His distinct voice seeped through powerful keyboards on new single "Hand Over My Heart" but blasted over the twang of his guitar underscoring the indispensable attitude of "Something Else." Throughout the night, unbridled energy radiated off of the singer and the arm-swinging, leg-kicking choreography made him a physical threat to anyone who might cross his path. Though his energy unfortunately did not catch on within the happy but stationary crowd, the calm did not take away from the storm. Diamond Rings was on a mission to entertain and the performance, to be adjective-appropriate, was polished.
To see Exclaim!'s Pop Montreal photo gallery, head here.