Summerworks: Diamond Rings, PS I Love You, August 11, Upper Ossington Theatre

Toronto – A very good Wednesday night at Summerworks was spoiled when we walked to the House of Poutini after the show and realized it was closed. Having played a soccer game, going home, eating a quick and small portion of black bean salad and then going to the show, I didn’t have the chance for a proper dinner. The show was great and I wanted to cap it off with poutine. They were CLOSED. Amazing. I wasn’t aware it was Wednesday. Worse of all, I dragged fellow bloggers Jen Polk and Joe from Mechanical Forest Sound along with me on my quest to fill my stomach with potatoes, cheese curds and gravy. Now they were there standing with me, dejected, empty handed and probably hungry. I felt that perhaps this was my White Castle moment, only I wasn’t high. I wasn’t even drunk, despite sneaking in a small little bottle of cognac into the theatre.

The Diamond Rings set at Summerworks Festival ended with a new song for an encore, called Leftovers. With PS I Love You on stage with him, this song definitely had a strong almost new wave meets grunge rock vibe to it, and it was good. Each line of the song was punctuated by a WOOOOOAH that might have sounded contrived if it didn’t sound so good. I’ve concluded that John O’Regan can write a perfect pop hook in his sleep.

One of the beautiful things about local shows is that you know if their friends are in town or something, they’ll show up for the set and there will be some kind of collaboration. This was such the case for the last two songs of the Diamond Rings set, when PS I Love You was invited back up on stage to do the two biggest hits of each act – Facelove and All Yr Songs. Both songs sounded awesome and I marveled at how good the rock version of All Yr Songs sounds live. That song is probably the perfect pop song, the hook on it is amazing. You get the feeling if someone like Rihanna got a hold of it, it would become the biggest song of the summer. The drummer and guitar added a nice rock feel to it that I enjoy. PS I Love You’s Paul Saulnier is quite a talented guitarist and I enjoyed the nice guitar solo he added to that song. Luckily for us, Joe from Mechanical Forest Sounds recorded it so you too, can enjoy it.

Having seen Diamond Rings a few times, I was quite please to hear some tunes I had never heard before. All of it was good. I like how he occasionally incorporates 90s style mid song raps into his songs. I think that was influenced by New Kids on the Block, where during the middle of a pop song, Donnie Wahlberg would deliver a rap out of nowhere. The more I listen to Diamond Rings, the more I realize it’s a great homage to 90s style pop music, mixed in with the electronic DIY influences of the 2000s. It’s a great blend of nostalgia and freshness. Naturally, the singles Show Me Your Stuff and Wait and See got the best responses from the audience, which was, for once, a nice balance of girls and boys. Did I mention I love summers?

When Diamond Rings took the stage wearing some sort of makeup with a 1992 Blue Jays shirt, I was once again reminded of how much stage presence the dude has. It’s quite hard to be up there on stage all by yourself but John O’Regan pulls it off quite naturally and his appearance instantly commands your attention. The crowd, which was half sitting and half standing during the PS I Love You set, instantly crowded up a little closer when he took the stage.

I was so glad that the intermission between acts wasn’t as long as the intermission for the Hidden Cameras show on Friday. That intermission was so long, I could have went home, marinated some ribs, put it in the fridge for awhile, pulled it out, go to hardware store and buy a smoker, hike into the forest and cut down some hickory or mesquite wood, go home, set up the smoker, cook the ribs and then ate it. This intermission was nice and brief.

Openers PS I Love You impressed me with their set. As you may recall, I wasn’t overly impressed with their set at NXNE. I think that was partially because of who came before them (Japandroids) and the time of the night (1 am). This time around, I got a nice dose of 90s era grunge rock. I didn’t hear the track Facelove, but I guess that was a surprise for later. For a band with just one guitarist and one drummer, they made quite a racket and their songs while immersed in a dense guitar sound did have elements of pop to it, with Paul Saulnier showing us his different vocal ranges with some of his screams and yells.

In case you didn’t know, PS I Love You and Diamond Rings are two acts that are quickly rising through the music scene. Diamond Rings has been a Pitchfork endorsed youtube sensation with his videos All Yr Songs, Wait and See and Show Me Your Stuff and PS I Love You released a critically acclaimed single/EP last year as well. Both acts were playing at the Upper Ossington Theatre as a part of the Summerworks Festival.

I went into the Ossington Theatre on Wednesday expecting a good show and it was delivered as promised.

I re-watched the movie Memento earlier this week. It was good.

Diamond Rings feat PS I Love You – All Yr Songs (live 2010-08-11) by panicmanual

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Posted on by Ricky in Summerworks

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

3 Responses to Summerworks: Diamond Rings, PS I Love You, August 11, Upper Ossington Theatre

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  2. Joe


  3. Pritesh

    I love you

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