One Eyed Jacks
November 28, 2005
It was creepy on Decatur Street last night. Nobody was around, but inside One Eyed Jacks, there were just enough warm and friendly people. Not too many to make it uncomfortable but not a wasteland, either. About thirty turned up to watch NYC's Diamond Nights play rock.
Diamond Nights play an enjoyable mix of glam, metal, and new wave. Their guitar sound mixes the aggressiveness of Motorhead with the sheen of Queen. Diamond Nights are rock enough for the boys and party enough for the girls. It was the type of music you could easily headbang or sway your body to in an erratic way. Depending on your mood. The band's theme was "sex and power." The same could be said for Queens of the Stone Age, whose beats drummer Timmy Traynor aped remarkably for the harder material. His other Rush-like beats were pleasurably broken and misidrecting. He had such control over the music last night. He made a complicated high-hat fueled dance beat look simple.
Lead singer/guitarist Morgan Phalen made being a smooth operator look simple. He was a wolf in wolf's clothing(how do rock stars like Phalen make a mullet look good?) His spoken vocals went to a high Darkness-like wail when he wanted to accentuate or add a little theatricality. Phalen sported a sly and mischevious grin, so it's no surprise that DN song titles include "The Girl's Attractive" and "A Kiss to Tell," while the main lyric of "Destination Diamonds" is "Do you like to mess around?"
When the band kicked into their set with no ceremony, nobody was on the dancefloor. But, by the end of the concert, a combination of charisma and good music had most of the crowd bunched up against the stage's edge. It was a Monday night, but Phalen was determined to make it feel like a Saturday night. He said exactly that as he made a nice segueway into the song "Saturday Fantastic." Diamond Nights was a well-rehearsed band that wasn't about to not have a good time, even if the city they were playing was a pseudo ghost town. Phalen talked to the crowd in between every song to make them feel involved. He got the audience to move up closer a few times, and he wrote off the "dinner theater" crowd that was sitting down. It's nice to see a performer roll into a strange town and be that confident. Phalen jumped off the stage and played face to face with audience members a few times, and he made the ultimate crowd-band connection when he invited the audience onstage for one of the songs. Even the guys were allowed.
Botton line: Diamond Nights deserves checking out, in some fashion or another.