Published Apr 08, 2011For a moment, it seemed as though the ascendency of John O'Regan's glamorous alter ego, Diamond Rings, signalled the end for his post-post-punk day job in the D'Urbervilles. And then, like Istanbul rising from the ashes of Constantinople or D12 -- actually, never mind that second allusion -- the D'Urbs suddenly re-emerged as Matters.
While the repurposed Toronto band still boast the same stellar lineup, they have dialed back a bit of their explosiveness in favour of more sophisticated synths and harmonies. For this opening slot and de facto hometown coming-out party, the four-piece dropped a spry and visceral set, punctuated with funked-up breakdowns, highlighted by O'Regan's lassoing baritone, and held together by Greg Santilly's otherworldly drumming.
The superb supporting slot visibly moved PS I Love You frontman Paul Saulnier, who sauntered out with a Matters sticker plastered to his forehead. Purportedly spurred on, the Kingston, ON band sprinted out of the gate, playing their sonorous brand of duo rock, replete with Saulnier's Derek Trucks-calibre fret-board work.
The tandem -- filled out by drummer Benjamin Nelson -- managed to ring a particularly danceable show out of its ostensibly beefy, guitar-led tunes. Throughout, Saulnier delivered plenty of dirty riffs accompanied by his emotive yelp while Nelson hit harder than the Babe.
"Starfield" swelled with kaleidoscope melodies and appropriate space rock references, culminating in a tapped coda, while "Facelove" scored with sheer velocity. Closer "Leftovers" brought O'Regan back out -- presumably as Diamond Rings but without the telltale makeup -- for a fittingly grand end to an invigorating and convivial affair.