Originally I held back on writing/posting this concert review with the intentions of combining it with the final date of the tour, the official album release party. Unfortunately, situations beyond my control prevented me from attending. Sorry Diemonds, you know that I love ya and I was certainly there in spirit. I’m probably way more upset about missing the event than you are of course! The best intentions of catching at least three dates on Diemonds recent “Infest the West” tour were quickly whittled down to only one, but what a show it was!
It’s no secret that I’m an absolutely HUGE Diemonds fan! From the first time I saw them back in 2011 a seed that was planted that night that has now blossomed into a full-on raging fanship that includes at least 18 live performances, 14 written Diemonds reviews on Decibel Geek and other sites, countless items of merchandise and even their band logo’s appearance in my full sleeve tattoo which depicts a guitar case “stickered” with the logos of some of my top bands.
Nothing is better for me than the feeling of seeing friends and acquaintances with CD’s or other merch clutched tightly in their hot little hands purchased after a Diemonds performance, especially after they weren’t familiar with the band before the set. It’s an awesome feeling when those same people thank me for all the ranting about the band as I try to spread the word. I have mailed Diemonds CD’s around the world to friends I think would like them, talked with Ron Keel about them (he even played a Diemonds track on his Streets of Rock n Roll Radio Show) and introduced Decibel Geek Podcast hosts Chris and Aaron to the band as well as Cobras & Fire Podcast hosts Loose Cannon and Bakko. Both podcasts have featured Diemonds tracks since my introductions, great music like this deserves to have the word spread. Decibel Geek Ep#205 / Cobras & Fire Podcast
In an effort to change the Diemonds voice here at Decibel Geek, I even allowed Phil Lisotti (he’s also a big fan) to review their newly issued Never Wanna Die album. I was disappointed that he only gave it an 8.5 out of 10, for me it’s a clear 11/10! But The Meister can’t be kept silent about Diemonds so, I will write one more post before I lapse into silence on the subject……for now at least…..
Toronto’s Diemonds appeared at the small, rather stupidly named (what the hell is “hotdoggery” anyway?) Foxx Lounge and Hotdoggery in Barrie, Ontario during a stop on their “Infest the West” tour which saw the band loading up a plain white panel van and pulling a trailer of gear as they set out to rock Western Canada. The crowd at this show may not have been large, but they were mostly rabid Diemonds fans or “Die-Hards” like myself and I greeted many friends. The evening opened with Stereoblastula setting the stage (the Anti-Queens band had been double booked and was not in attendance, leaving only one opener). The crowd remained seated during this opening band that was, to be honest, not my cup of tea, although the frontman was quite funny with some of his one-liners….perhaps a career in stand-up comedy my friend.
Diemonds hit the stage with a vigor and a thunder seemingly stronger than ever in what was probably the best performance I’ve ever seen the band give (although I say that after almost every Diemonds show). It had taken Diemonds 34 hours to drive back to Ontario for this show which would sure knock the wind out of the sails of a seasoned traveler such as I, so I can only attribute their refreshed look and renewed vigor to a stop at a Die-Hard and personal friend’s cottage for a day of tubing and cottage shenanigans the very evening before. The “too-small-to-fit-the-band-members-stage” didn’t slow this young band on the rise down one iota! They (quite literally as you can see in the attached video below) filled the stage in front of their impressive Never Wanna Die album cover stage backdrop. Looking at that backdrop I was stung with pangs of regret at not purchasing the Skeletour backdrop that was most recently for sale through the Diemonds PledgeMusic campaign even though it wouldn’t fit in my place (now I want the Never Wanna Die one!). I had two acquaintances in the crowd who had never seen Diemonds and were not expressly familiar with their music even and when the band hit the stage guitarist C.C. Diemond summoned the lone person (my friend) who had remained seated towards the front. Diemonds ripped into “Meet Your Maker” and proceeded through a blistering setlist comprised mostly of tracks off the excellent (11/10 Phil!!) Never Wanna Die album. The band incorporated a lot more than usual crowd interaction into the set as not only leggy frontwoman Priya Panda addressed the crowd, but guitarists Daniel Dekay and C.C. Diemond also spoke quite a bit. Perhaps this was due in part that the band knew much of the crowd in attendance tonight, but in any case it helped build a strong connection with the audience and displayed the good times the band was having. After the first five tracks in the setlist: “Meet Your Maker”, “Hell Is Full” (personal Meister fave), “Forever Untamed”, “Ain’t That Kind Of Girl”, and the first single “Over It”, all off Never Wanna Die, it was time to return to The Bad Pack (2012) album. The triple shot of “Left For Dead”, “Livin’ Tonight” and “Get the Fuck Outta Here” were interspersed with other Never Wanna Die cuts “Save Your Life” and “Better Off Dead”. The album title track, “Never Wanna Die”, took us to two cover songs, “Sell Your Soul” and “Deathboy”, from another Toronto band, Kill Cheerleader. Priya Panda is a big fan of Kill Cheerleader and while she was away on a vacation recently the rest of Diemonds learned her favorite song (“Sell Your Soul”) as a surprise for her when she returned. The lone entry from Diemonds‘ In The Rough EP (2008) came next with “Highway”, which is a great track and Diemonds show staple. The band wrapped up this set with a rousing and extremely fun cover of KISS‘ “Deuce” that had every single person in attendance from band members, to audience, to staff even singing along with broad smiles on our faces.
The merch table was “invaded” after the set, even though most of us already owned a good portion of the goodies there and for me the vinyl edition of The Bad Pack was finally too much to resist (I had been looking at it every time I see it on the table at shows, but usually held back as I don’t even have anything to play it on!). I was proud to see that my friend, the initially seated one at the start of the show, ended up buying all three CD’s!!
So tragic it was for me to have to miss the Never Wanna Die album release party a couple nights later in Toronto, but the good news is that Diemonds have just announced a few more Southern Ontario dates, giving me another chance to see them (too much is never enough)!! My seated friend will even be attempting to hit up at least two of the three newly announced shows as well! Listen to me my friends for The Meister does indeed know good music like Diemonds. Now go forth and spread the disease!!