Black Diamond Bay + The High Dials + Hilotrons | Pianos | 11.09.2008

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Highdials

Hilotrons

It's a bit pornographic to watch Black Diamond Bay frontman Patrick Krief play guitar. Not that he full-on sexualizes things like Prince, but the man definitely makes a serious O Face while rocking out on his instrument. Actually, so does drummer George Donoso, who is somewhere on the intensity scale between Keith Moon and Animal. This was the last of BDB's three NYC shows, their first real American assault since going from being a Krief solo project — he and Donoso were both in The Dears up until a year or so ago — into a new and destinct entity.

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That said, Black Diamond Day aren't entirely dissimilar to The Dears. The '70s glam drama, an epic swagger, but Krief and Donoso were intrinsic to the sound of that band's last two albums — and what helped make them such a powerhouse live (and whose departure has left a hole I'm not sure that can ever really be filled). As Krief put it after the show, "George and I left our stink on them." And vise-versa. While they are still developing as songwriters, Black Diamond Bay are already a powerhouse live. Tight as hell, they definitely knock you back a little. Of course, part of that is the volume at which they play, which is set at Stadium. But's it's mostly the skill and passion. And the O Face.

MP3Black Diamond Bay – Brothers In Exile 

It was an all-Canadian night at Pianos put together by the folks at the Musebox. Fellow Montrealers The High Dials had probably the biggest draw the three bill line-up, and deservedly so — they were great. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for what they do: hazy '60s psych/country with spot-on harmonies and a healthy dose of druggy drone. (The band didn't tour with The Brian Jonestown Massacre for nothing.) I knew the name but thought I was unfamiliar with until they took stage, then I realized I'd seen them before, though I can't place where or when. And when I got home I found 2005 last album, War of the Wakening Phantoms, in my collection, which upon listening again I totally remember. And hopefully they'll be back soon, as their new double-album, Moon Country, is pretty great and has been listened to about six times today. I won't forget them again. 

MP3The High Dials - My Heart Is Pinned To Your Sleeve (buy High Dials music)

The official headliners were Ottowa's Hilotrons whose album Happymatic was on the "long list" for this year's Polaris Music Prize which eventually went to Caribou's Andora. (Did you ever watch my video of "Sandy"?) I know that a lot of people compare them to Tokyo Police Club and Franz Ferdinand (well that's what I read) but to me they sound like a band who could have been signed to I.R.S. in 1980 — a little Wall of Voodoo, a smidge of Skafish, and a lot of Oingo Boingo (minus the horns). (The singer sounds a little like Dick Valentine or maybe Eddie Money.) All things I like but I think I'm going to need a little more emersion for it all to sink in. They are definitely fun, though.

MP3Hilotrons – Emergency Street (buy Hilotrons at Emusic)

A few more pictures at my Flickr.

Krief Week 2008 in NYC

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I know we're all focused on The Election and all, and lord knows I've been watching way too much CNN lately (minus Lou Dobbs who may actually top anyone at FOX News in douche-i-ness), but the world goes on and Wednesday we're going to wake up very hungover and ask, "What now?" Well, musically, it's Krief Week here in NYC. That's Patrick Krief, former guitarist of The Dears and now frontman of Black Diamond Bay. BDB is the same band that toured here last Krief Week (July 2007) when they were just called Krief (basically a solo project) and he was still a member of The Dears but now have a full-length album out which is quite good. 

Black Diamond Bay, which also features awesome former Dears drummer George Donoso, are in the same school as their former band — we're talking "She's So Heavy" Beatles, or Hunky Dory Bowie, or Radiohead — big, epic stuff with skyrocketing solos and massive crescendos. And if you ever saw Krief and Donoso with the Dears, you know how much they sell it: faces are made, sweat pours down, solos soar, and drum-fills fill the air.

New York has three chances to see Black Diamond Bay this week: Wednesday at Public Assembly (formerly Galapagos); Thursday at Southpaw; and Saturday at Pianos. They also play Election Night in Boston (tough gig) and Friday in Philly. I caught them last year and they're well worth seeing, so please go out and check out one of the shows.

MP3Black Diamond Bay – Brothers In Exile 

Nov 4 Church, Boston, Massachusetts
Nov 5 Public Assembly, Brooklyn, New York
Nov 6 Southpaw, Brooklyn, New York
Nov 7 The Green Rock, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nov 8 Pianos, New York, New York
Nov 13 Blacksheep INN, Wakefield, Quebec
Nov 22 Le Casbah, Quebec City, Quebec