DIEMONDS in the rough

Toronto-based band DIEMONDS reinvented 80s hard-rock at the Mansion on Wednesday night

Frontwoman of DIEMONDS Priya Panda brought energy to The Mansion on Wednesday evening.
Frontwoman of DIEMONDS Priya Panda brought energy to The Mansion on Wednesday evening.
Photo: 
Frontwoman of DIEMONDS Priya Panda brought energy to The Mansion on Wednesday evening.
Frontwoman of DIEMONDS Priya Panda brought energy to The Mansion on Wednesday evening.
Photo: 

After three-and-a-half hours of opening bands and intermissions, DIEMONDS finally took the stage - and they were well worth the wait.

As part of “The Bad Pack” tour, the female-fronted band performed at the Mansion on Wednesday night, marking their second time in Kingston this year.

With big hair, leather and jean vests and pants so tight they might as well be painted on, the 80s influence was obvious on sight.

But it’s not just in the looks.

Their music draws on the hard-rock traditions of 80s bands, like Guns N’ Roses, while making the genre their own.

I first noticed DIEMONDS vocalist Priya Panda by the stage, with one foot boldly propped on the edge while she watched the opening bands. I wasn’t the only one who noticed her; all around men motioned towards her.

With a name like Priya Panda, you’d think adorable to boot - but I wouldn’t dare call the petite woman with the bow in her hair anything but kickass. She exuded a powerful aura reminiscent of the Gotham City Sirens' American comic book characters.

This was only amplified when she got onto the stage.

“It’s devil’s night,” the sultry singer said, “we’re all going to be naughty tonight … naughty and nasty.” Busting out the fogs machines and skeletal props, DIEMONDS kept the Halloween spirit strong with songs like “Trick or Treat”.

The room wasn’t exactly bursting at the seams, but less than a minute into the first song nearly the entire bar was congregated at the edge of the stage, the small gathering making the floorboards quake.

Priya connected with the crowd by dancing and fist-pumping along with them and later thanking all those who had come out, especially out-of-towners from Pennsylvania and Ottawa.

At one point in the night Priya asked the crowd, “Have you ever cheated on someone before?” A lone wolf fist pumped in confirmation.

She turned to him and said, “You asshole, this one’s for you,” and launched into “Meet Your Maker”.

In general, there’s this stigma against hard-rock as being overwhelmingly loud and alienating as a result, but DIEMOND’s catchy tracks like “Get the F&$k outta here” and “Lil’ Miss”, led by Priya’s crisp voice and accompanied by amazing guitarists, commanded you to rock out.

By the end I found it impossible to stand still and began singing along to lyrics that two seconds earlier were foreign to me.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.