So after some tricky legwork, I found myself with a rare Saturday night off of work and I had a plan for the evening. You may have heard me talk about local Toronto band Diemonds in previous posts with concert reviews, CD reviews and the like. This band is gaining notoriety in the rock world and Ron Keel has even featured them on his Streets of Rock & Roll Radio Show. When I travelled to Memphis, Tennessee back in November to catch Tora Tora's 25th Anniversary show I happened into a record store and saw their Bad Pack CD on the new release shelf (yet I don't see it at my local records stores here on their home turf!) Recently I had the pleasure of taking part in the Monsters of Rock Cruise and while down there in Florida, I met a guy sporting a Diemonds t-shirt and struck up a conversation, naturally assuming he was from Toronto. He was not, actually from Nova Scotia. Diemonds shirts have been spotted by friends of mine at events like Shiprocked! They have played big festivals like M3, Rocklahoma and Heavy MTL. They've toured non-stop throughout the US and Canada and they've made history being the first female fronted act to play the city of Shillong, India! Their infectious live performances have captured the attention and gained the support of corporate sponsors such as Jagermeister and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Diemonds have shared and set the stage for many great bands such as Steel Panther, Slash, Jack Russell's Great White, Teenage Head, L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat and just this past Saturday, Swedish sleaze rockers Crashdiet, the reason behind this article. If you haven't heard of Diemonds before, check out their website here (Diemonds).
Feeling a bit bummed out that I had missed Diemonds on Easter Sunday as they opened for Faster Pussycat (or more aptly, as I've seen someone refer to them, Easter Pussycat for that show) here in Toronto, I was determined to get out and support them tonight. I have heard a couple of Crashdiet tunes and while I rather enjoyed them, they did not overly "wow" me and I'd never heard of either of the other bands on the bill (Snakeskyn Whiskey and Crucified Barbara), so I was there for Diemonds all the way. I headed out early as I always enjoy to catch the opening bands, you never know and I've discovered many bands that way, Diemonds for one! This show was set for an unusually early start with Snakeskyn Whiskey to take stage at 6:20pm, Diemonds at 7:05pm, Crucified Barbara at 7:50pm and the headliner Crashdiet at 9pm. As I was on the way, the message was posted on the events Facebook page at about 5:45pm that the lineup had been adjusted and now Diemonds would play first on the stage! Thank God that I got an early start and would be at the club around 6pm as I wouldn't want to miss Diemonds, the reason I came out tonight.
DIEMONDSDiemonds hit the stage sharp to time starting out with Trick or Treat. Attractive vocalist, Priya Panda addressed the sparse crowd saying "thanks for coming out early for Diemonds, we're small, but mighty," before asking us if we liked it loud, loud and nasty as they powered into the Loud & Nasty track off of the stellar Bad Pack CD. Their latest video accompanies the next track of Get The Fuck Out and watching them pound around the stage I can't help but think how great it is that a young band such as this is so embroiled in keeping this genre of music alive. Diemonds live and breathe sleaze, booze soaked rock and roll, playing the part to the whole nine yards right down to the jean jackets with the Diemonds backpatches on them. I miss my jean jacket with the KISS back patch from my youth......sorry, side note there. They broke out next into a newer song that fit quite well with the rest of the catalouge and I look forward to a
new Diemonds recording as soon as possible! The crowd began to fill in, closing in on the stage as many of the Diemonds fans were starting to arrive now, having been unaware of the set time adjustment and none too happy about it either. With the talent and credentials of this local band, there is no way that they should have been first on the bill, but I guess there was some touring issues that accounted for the time change. Diemonds treated us to another new track, only serving to feed my hunger for new Diemonds music, adding fuel to the already stoked fire. Mystery was next as leggy Priya Panda gripped her brass knuckled microphone singing with real conviction. Diemonds ended their way to early and way to short half hour set with a track from their 2008 EP In The Rough called Highway. Another great performance and this disease called Diemonds must be spread rapidly.
SNAKESKYN WHISKEYSnakeskyn Whiskey had a hard act to follow after Diemonds and their loyal fans such as myself were very critical of their performance. They took stage sharp at 7:05pm and seemed to have a fairly high energy, but the guitars seemed a little flat sounding to me, of course I'm still amped about Diemonds. I did notice that the building crowd that Diemonds had drawn the attention of down in front of the stage had all but disappeared during Snakeskn Whiskey and I walked away to the bar to get a beer and had no trouble regaining my "leaning on the stage" position....how often does that happen? Don't get me wrong, the music was not bad or anything, I think a lot of people were jilted about the set time change and I certainly feel (biased and all) that these guys would make a decent opening band, getting the audience warmed up and should have been on first setting the crowd up for Diemonds. Into the third song they warmed up a bit and seemed much better, getting into it as they went along (or maybe I warmed up). A friend standing next to me likened their stage look to that of Venom, but since I'm not familiar with Venom, so I'll take his word for it. Definitely Snakskyn Whiskey got better as they went along with a pounding high energy now as they played their last song entitled Crazy Girl from their first album the lead vocalist informed us and was actually a good song.
As I hung around the front of the stage chatting with some friends, wondering what the next band, Crucified Barbara was all about, watching the stage set change suddenly reminded me of the time I was a stage hand for Kim Mitchell. Not even sure how I got this honour, but I was asked to help switch the sets between the opening band and Kim Mitchell. No money of course, just cool to be on stage, hey I was like 19! I tried to do my best as several "roadies" shouted different orders at me, me of course not knowing what the hell they were talking about! Then after a few minutes, as I'm moving a microphone stand a "roadie", obviously in charge, comes over and starts yelling at me about a missing mic clip or something, accusing me of pocketing it! I simply shrugged and walked off stage, hey I wasn't being paid and just who the hell was that guy anyway? I did not pocket the missing item, but as my friends later pointed out, it was certainly not out of the realm of possibility for me to perform such an act.....fast forward like 20 years to last year and the "song lyrics" incident (some of you may know that story) and I have to admit that they are right and I probably would have pilfered it if I could have...lol
CRUCIFIED BARBARAAny ways, back to the review at hand! In the wonderings of the conversation about who the next band was, a friend piped in, saying that he had seen them coming out of the tour bus earlier and that they were all hot Swedish babes. As Crucified Barbara took the stage, I realised immediately that my friend was not wrong in his earlier observations! The ladies commanded the crowd's attention straight away with their awesome stage energy and presence. I was again reminded of a conversation from my recent voyage aboard the Monsters of Rock Cruise in which someone had said to me the words "chicks just don't rock as hard as guys do." and how wrong that person was yet again! By the third song, an overwhelming thought had crept into my mind and was taking over......"must purchase merchandise immediately!", I was hooked. These Swedish babes had some venom to them as they rolled through their no-holds barred rockin' set list including The Crucifier, Shut Your Mouth, Rock Me Like The Devil, If I Hide and Into The Fire from their latest CD, The Midnight Chase, which I purchased at the show. They also played some of their earlier material like Losing The Game, In Distortion We Trust, Sex Action and Motorfucker. Feeding the newly purchased and autographed CD into my computer and jumping on the internet as soon as I got home, I
visited their website (Crucified Barbara) and their Facebook page (Crucified Barbara Facebook), purchasing their other recordings and learning the story behind their name. It seems that the band had been attending the Denmark Roskilde Festival and happened upon a blow up doll (generically referred to as a "Barbara" in Sweden) attached to a cross in a nearby forest. Described as The Runaways meets Motorhead, this is their first trip to Canada and I certainly hope they will make a return engagement sooner rather than later. I was not the only person that night with that hope as after Crucified's set I sauntered off to the bar, engaging in idle chatter with some other concert goers hearing things like "F**k, they rock!" and "I certainly didn't expect that shit!" as everyone agreed that we just got our ass kicked by a bunch of girls!
CRASHDIETThe head liner Crashdiet was up next and I was not totally familiar with them, as I said earlier I mainly came out to support Diemonds, feeling bad for missing the Easter show. Thanks to Diemonds I had already found a great new band with Crucified Barbara and according to friends and concert goers around me I would not be disappointed with Crashdiet either. They did not lie! I could see the shadowy silhouettes moving around like wraiths behind the red curtain that obstructed our view of the set change and when that curtain dropped and Crashdiet attacked the stage with a high energy, the singer jumping around all over the stage throughout their first song Change The World followed by Circus. With a very punk look, the singer was sporting a huge blond mohawk, they had me hooked by the second song and the singer was absolutely intense. While the band looked a bit on the feminine side the bassist and guitarist switched stage sides for the third song, Tikket (no that's not a spelling error) and I couldn't help but think "Holy crap, awesome!" Anarchy and Rebel followed in the assault and again I was struck by the power and intensity of this Swedish band on Breakin' The Chain. Queen Obscene, Got A Reason and Garden of Babylon closed out the set as
Crashdiet exited stage left for a brief break before returning with an encore of three songs. Riot in Everyone led the encore charge as the crowd was whipped into a frenzy. Vocalist Simon announced a birthday in the house and invited Justyn, the guitarist for Snakeskyn Whiskey onto the stage for a cheers and shot of Jack Daniels before he produced an electric harmonica and they broke into Cocaine Cowboys. Crashdiet closed out with Generation Wild which included Simon making a stage dive into the crowd, as they exited the stage guitar picks were tossed out to the crowd and the guitarist threw me his sweaty towel....gee thanks, I think I'll wash that!
I owe a big thank-you to one of my favourite bands, Toronto's Diemonds, for I was here tonight to see them and if it hadn't been for that I would never have discovered Crucified Barbara or Crashdiet, both of which put on an awesome show and I will be on the lookout for them in the future and adding their CD's to my already unmanageably large collection. On another note, Sweden has never let me down yet! A while back I discovered two other bands from the Scandinavian country Bullet and Sister Sin, both of which have become favourites of mine and figure high in my rotation of playlists, four out of four Sweden Rocks!