Baby, do you like to mess around?

I went down to the Exit/In last Tuesday night to see Diamond Nights.

Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang opened and though I knew what to expect, I was going to watch their whole set and make a better informed call. And that call is: Suck Suck Suck. They have no riffs and they have no tunes. In their zeal to mimic Southern Rock, they’ve just resorted to writing several interchangeable songs with the same 1-2-1-2 drum beat. Dumb as they might have been, even Skynyrd had different tempos and beats. Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang are, simply put, poseurs.

Diamond Nights showed them how it’s done. DN may take some heat for their own brand of cock rock, but contrary to BBB, I get the impression that the four guys of Diamond Nights couldn’t write any other kind of music. They like cock rock; they live it. Their lead guitarist never pollutes their tunes with a bunch of wankery. And their lead singer, Morgan Phalen, has a very cool (and I mean like collected) stage presence. During “Saturday Fantastic” he led a very odd sing-along. His between song banter was full of deadpanned but seemingly sincere remarks. Like how they were happy we all turned out on a snowy Tuesday evening.

But the highlight of the night came during “The Girl’s Attractive” when he invited the drunkest girl in the place (the kind who was so drunk that we’d been making fun of her before they started playing) to come onstage and dance. And the girl was not attractive. She got very into her role and took one of the other mics off its stand and started moaning during parts of the song. Morgan sang the chorus and then quietly said into his mic, “Can you turn that mic off?” During the next chorus after the line “the girl’s attractive,” he added “and drunk.” The entire spectacle was hilarious and the cool with which the band played it off was amazing.

I’d hesitated buying their LP, Popsicle, because I thought their EP, Once We Were Diamonds, was perfect and I didn’t want to spoil them, but I got Popsicle on Wednesday morning and it definitely lives up to all their promises. It’s just an awesome version of 70s-esque cock rock with plenty of new wave highlights thrown in.

Oddly, the album version of “The Girl’s Attractive” replaces a noisy keyboard solo with a guitar solo. Live, the band played the keyboard version.