Diamond Sutra entered the Grand's 'Battle of the Grand' and were surprised to be picked to play the first show:
The first night stirred excitement in the air. New faces in the venue locked gazes and stares, as eyes on bar staff sparkled with wonder. Heavy blues licks pieced the average punters ears, 'Blue Grizzly' were moments away from kicking off their set. First song kicks in and wow! I am amazed by the vocalists raspy yet warm melodies, and the deep groove of distorted blues. I liked it. It is obvious that the two guitarists are very talented as they both shredded up and down their axes. Wait... no bass? At a second listen, the mix could have been better - from where I was standing I could here all of one guitar, a bit of the other, slightly quiet vocals and no bass. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed their set and would go and se them again.
Cue 'Diamond Sutra'. Pretty casual set up; goaties, mullets, sports shoes and eye shadow. A quick sound check and we're into it. I adjusted my volume 3 or 4 times during the intro of 'Spoiled' and then realise I'm too loud once we all come in. I feel on edge because I haven't quite synced in with what everybody else is doing by the time the song is over... damn, who wanted to play the new song second? I stammered through Medusa (TL slammed it - it's gotta be one of my favourite vocal performances from her A). Once the older songs rolled in one after the other I found my groove (and perfect volume).
'I and I' (eye and eye) dominated the stage with their presence and energy. Choice riffs, leads and groove laid down by the bass. The rocky reggae vibe reminded me of Kora and I enjoyed nodded away from the back of the room. The singer is amazing! I am transfixed on him right now - he obviously sings with huge amounts of passion. Well worth a look.
I congratulate the Grand for putting something like this on. How awesome to have a blues band, a rock/electronica band and a reggae band in one night? Also having the show start at 8pm and over by 10:30 is great for your average punter on a Thursday night. I just hope that Palmerston North backs this idea. The Grand is a much nicer venue to go to than the Royal - omg - and bands wonder why people don't turn up for shows at the Royal?? If Palmerston North does back it, then moving to a weekend night would be my advice.
Oh yeah, Diamond Sutra take out the top spot - semis in September, here we come.