Show Review: Diamond Rings at the Triple Rock

by Sally Hedberg


John O’Regan AKA Diamond Rings deserves to be a star. For one, he’s got the look: a glam-rock explosion of hipster-kid meets Ziggy Stardust, complete with the Technicolor makeup. He’s also produced an impressive debut album, “Special Affections,” that combines his passion for pop hooks and self-made beats with powerful baritone vocals reminiscent of Ian Curtis or Matt Berninger. For further deets click here. A&E  spoke with him in early February.

But aside from the fact that he looks cool and that he’s rocked to a sold out Radio City Music Hall alongside Robyn, John O’Regan is a guy that’s clearly committed to his craft and audience. The tireless energy he thrust into his sparsely-attended show at the Triple Rock on Sunday is a sure testament to that.

One has to imagine that it’s somewhat of a disappointing reality check to go from playing for the colossal crowds of an international pop star to entertaining a meek handful of kids at your run-of-the-mill dingy rock club. Yet, from the first atmospheric synths of “Play By Heart,” Diamond Rings asserted the conviction that he was psyched to be performing for the meager two-dozen PBR-guzzling attendees. Running through the entirety of “Special Affections,” he unquestionably won the audience with a flamboyant, high-energy dance performance that accompanied the music. He paid no mind that from a “tickets sold” standpoint the show was a dud. The people that had shown up were there to see him and he was appreciative of that, giving them their eight dollars worth and then some.

From a live performance perspective, the appeal of an artist like Diamond Rings lies in the surprisingly contradictory elements of his aesthetic. One moment he’d be prancing around the stage shaking his pelvis in form fitting leg wear to optimistic pop songs. This influenced a diluted interpretation of what he’s all about. Then, two minutes later, he’d be thrashing about on the floor á la Iggy Pop, showcasing his insane guitar-playing chops and leaving the judgmental “he just presses play” grumblers biting their tongues. An acoustic rendition of “Give it Up” added even further diversity to his set. After seeing the way he performs, it’s pretty difficult to argue his credibility as a musician. Though it may take some time before John O’Regan receives the widespread positive attention that he undoubtedly deserves, with the inherent talent and energy he propels into his work, it’s very likely that he will eventually get it.