On an unusually warm December night in New York City, the biggest blast of heat did not come from Mother Nature, it came from within the Bowery Ballroom. Glam rock-pop singer Diamond Rings and electro rockers Gold Fields performed to a near sold-out crowd on the final night of their tour together in the United States.
As the houselights dimmed before 9pm on Tuesday night and the crowd began shuffling into the main area for Australia's Gold Fields to come on, there was an interesting sense of curiosity and excitement as one of the break-out bands of CMJ 2012 was returning to New York since the festival. In the third time we have covered this band, we can proudly say we were at their very first U.S. show in the spring, Gold Fields keep getting better and better. The idea of having them open for Diamond Rings made perfect sense as two of Astralwerks most exciting artists were working and playing together and making bodies move across the country is fantastic. From the pounding tribal drums to the distorted keyboards to thumping bass lines and catchy guitar hooks, the audience were loving every second of what they were offering on stage. The bands sound, which is a cross between New Order and early Nine Inch Nails with 90's electronica like Underworld and Chemical Brothers thrown in is hard to not make anyone fall in love with what they were doing. Singer Mark Robert Fuller sometimes shy moments under his black hoodie would break as soon as he felt the time would be right to move around and dance his ass off on stage, which in turn got everyone in the crowd moving like they would at a music festival. As the band has returned to NYC, they looked more confident than ever and the audiences are growing, which is great for them since their debut, Black Sun, arrives in February. Gold Fields still prove to be the best new live band we have seen all year. Giving it everything they have with a giant smile on their faces, they still manage to take a crowd to new heights with their phenomenal cover of Underworld's "Born Slippy." As the thirty minutes they were on stage ended and the houselights came back up, the jaws of everyone in the room were firmly on the floor - mission accomplished lads!
While everyone seemed to still be recovering from the brilliance of Gold Fields, it was still time for the nights headliner to come on stage - Diamond Rings. After witnessing Diamond Rings a few times now, the main lesson is to expect the unexpected. As his band walked on stage and began an electronic overture, Rings, seeming to float on stage as he was dressed in neon glasses and a metallic blanket, one resembling the kind marathon runners receive after they completed their run, immediately began to entertain without even doing much. After finishing his opening opus, it was then into his normal attire of a studded white leather jacket and tight black pants as he broke out tracks from his latest, Free Dimensional. The record, which is a throwback to 80's New Wave, glam rock, and early house music is an instant party starter from start to finish and in a day and age where EDM and DJ's are taking over dance floors around the world, it is refreshing to see someone do it with a full live band and do it really well. With a majority of tracks off Free Dimensional being played, all of Bowery Ballroom were dancing the night away. Within 30 minutes on stage, Rings already had gone through six costume changes and was not stopping. As he ran around on stage and clinched in mic like and OG rapper, he broke down the 4th wall between him and his crowd. He is a fun but frivolous entertainer, he does not care what anyone thinks of him as long as they are enjoying themselves as echoed in his latest single, "I'm Just Me." As Diamond Rings stays who he is, it is a testament that more artists like this need to emerge and evolve in todays music landscape, just be carefree, smart, clever and most of all - have fun.
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