This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

For gay music lovers — or lovers of gay musicians — there couldn’t be a better weekend for you. On Saturday, Melissa Etheridge arrives at the Majestic, performing songs off her new highly-acclaimed album 4th Street Feeling. The same night two miles away, Diamond Rings opens for Stars at the Granada. A Sophie’s choice, perhaps, but two very different styles. (If it helps make up your mind, you can enter to win free tickets to see Diamond Rings.) A third style requires less decisionmaking: Rufus Wainwright will perform Live at the Meyerson on Sunday night with his inimitable sound.

This is also a busy weekend for movies, with already-heralded horror movie Sinister likely to be the weekend’s big hit. It will be competing again The Paperboy (with a great gay twist and strong performances) and the studio prestige picture Argo, both of which could be Oscar contenders come January. Atlas Shrugged (not screened for critics — that says a lot) and the action-comedy from Oscar winner Martin McDonaugh, Seven Psychopaths, are also out there.

For theater lovers, there are no major openings this weekend, but Uptown Players continues its run of Hello Again, a dark but unexpectedly funny idyll on sex. Also unexpectedly funny: The Addams Family, featuring a charismatic performance by Douglas Sills as Gomez. Best of all: Freud’s Last Session, a whip-smart and fascinating, quick (75 minute) imagined meeting between atheist Freud and Christian novelist C.S. Lewis, with great performances by Jac Alder and Cameron Cobb.

Finally, in the lead-up to the World Gay Rodeo championship next weekend, Friday and Sunday mark the public events for the titles of Mr., Mrs. Ms. and MsTer TGRA 2013, with the competition Friday at the Rose Room and the sashes passing from last year’s royalty to this year’s winners on Sunday at the Round-Up.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

GIVEAWAY: Tickets to Diamond Rings concert

John O, the glam rocker who goes by the name Diamond Rings, will be performing at the Granada Theater on Saturday, opening for Stars. Diamond Rings also has a new album coming out next week. You can win two tickets to see the show — which starts at 8 — by sending an email to lifestyle@dallasvoice.com with the the subject line “Diamond Rings.” Include your name and a phone number. We will pick a winner at random by 2 p.m. on Friday. Good luck!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Diamond Rings’ “I’m Just Me”

Last week, Diamond Rings proved to be a big tease with a snippet from his upcoming single. Thirty seconds of amazement was released to hint at some major badassery. He lives up to it with the release of “I’m Just Me.” The single previews an upcoming album and the video is, well, major.

Channeling his inner Devo, Rings deep voice glides over hard beats. Part club music, part indie rock, “I’m Just Me” definitely improves on his sounds from his last album Special Affections which was already amazing. Boy dancers and Starck Club imagery punctuate the video with energy as we see Diamond Rings embrace his polished off new self.

In short, it’s all good. Watch the video after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Diamond Rings teases upcoming single

Wow. Diamond Rings just kicked my ass and it took all of 30 seconds. The “neither-gay-or-straight” singer just posted this teaser video for “I’m Just Me” which immediately hints at a more polished sound. His 2010 album Special Affections was already some impressive stuff, but if this is any hint of what’s to come, then sign me up.

The single is set for a June 26 release and from his as-yet-untitled new album due for release in late 2012. He steps it up by working with Grammy-nominated producer Damian Taylor who’s worked with Bjork, The Killers and Robyn. Makes sense since the last we saw Diamond Rings, he was in town opening for Robyn. The kid knows how to work his connections.

Watch the teaser after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

LISTEN: Diamond Rings’ cover of Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Mellow Doubt’

Pitchfork pointed me to this b-side track by Diamond Rings, who we profiled on his last visit to Dallas. The queer-centric singer covered Teenage Fanclub’s “Mellow Doubt” from their signature 1995 album Grand Prix. The original is already some good stuff, but dare I say Diamond Rings has improved upon the song? His pop perspective turned the somewhat somber song into a spirited tune.

The song is the b-side to his song “You and Me” (check out the video) and comes prior to his European release of Special Affections.

Give it a listen.

Diamond Rings – Mellow Doubt (Teenage Fanclub cover) by diamondringsmusic

—  Rich Lopez

Queer Music News: George Michael to go way gay on new album, but with whom?

The word is out that our favorite former sometimes-Dallasite George Michael is working on an album collaborating with a specific group of musicians. NME reported that “The singer, who is due to tour the UK in the winter with a 41 piece symphonic orchestra, had previously revealed that his next studio album would be made with a collective of gay artists, in an effort to ‘correct the damage’ his recent behavior had caused in ‘letting young gay kids down.’”

Now I’m a fan of Michael, but you know, I was let down too by his behavior and I KNOW his music. Our 19 year-old intern didn’t know much about Michael post-Faith. Come on, George. Us older fans want some of your attention, too.

ANYWAY, with his new vow to work with “either gay or gay friendly artists – possibly unknown ones,” I wondered who would be a good match. Minus bigger queer stars, I went from mid-range down:

  • Uh Huh Her — Sort of like the Pet Shop Boys of the lesbian crowd, this duo has cool pop chops and bring their own brand of sexy to match Michael’s. Vocally, he’d probably own them, but altogether, I’d predict a hit.
  • Big Freedia — I’m not sure if Michael could handle Freedia’s big booty bounce, but it would be fun to see him try to keep up. Michael may be the veteran, but Freedia would shine more.
  • Adam Lambert — This might be an easy call, but I think these two could be phenomenal together. There are enough similarities and differences and each would boost each other to different levels. Lambert’s big but still not huge so I think he’d fit in fine.
  • Diamond Rings — I think Michael could win with Diamond Rings writing his songs. It would bring him to an edgier level. Michael could use that without going overboard and Diamond Rings would know how to do that.
  • Sia — As much as I’d want to say yes to this, I think any collab between them would be a little odd. He’s too polished, she’s too eclectic, but vocally, they could be nice together.

That’s just what I think. Who would you pick?

—  Rich Lopez

DV presents Robyn at South Side Music Hall

Diamond Rings and Natalia Kills open. Click on the poster for show and ticket information.

—  Rich Lopez

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 02.18

Don’t <expletive> tell her what to do

When Robyn sings people listen, although mostly Europeans. She’s been doing this for a while, but last year’s Body Talk trilogy got her huge critical acclaim and a whole bunch of new American fans. The Swedish pop star isn’t in the bigger stratosphere of other pop divas, but that’s what makes her far more interesting. Dallas Voice presents the concert with Diamond Rings and Natalia Kills opening.

DEETS: South Side Music Hall, 1135 S. Lamar St. Doors at 7 p.m. $25. GilleyMusic.com.

Sunday 02.20

Get that jock you always wanted

For eight years, the Dallas Diablos have been putting their men on the auction block. But they say right on their poster “bad boys need love too.” Who are we to deny them that? Of course, it also has pics of guys with signs saying “buy my package.” That alone is kind of hard to resist.

DEETS: Woody’s Sports & Video Bar, 4011 Cedar Springs Road. 4:30 p.m. DallasDiablos.org.

Monday 02.21

We just wanna know if it’s funny
Usually Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure is considered one of his comedies. But because it’s on the darker side, a new label has been deemed for this type of show — problem play. No problem here, but we sure hope to laugh at Nouveau 47’s new production of the show.

DEETS: Nouveau 47 Theatre, 1121 First Ave. Through Feb. 27. Facebook.com/Nouveau47

—  John Wright

UNCUT DIAMOND: Going from drab to fab, John O’Regan glams as indie boy Diamond Rings

GLAM JAM | After finding reassurance for his music at the hospital, O’Regan created Diamond Rings and is now on the road with pop singer Robyn.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

A bout with Crohn’s disease would hardly seem like a prime period of inspiration. But with a lengthy stay at the hospital and a built-in audience of doctors and nurses, John O’Regan discovered his inner Ziggy Stardust, and thus was Diamond Rings born.

Almost by accident, he’s making a sensation on many music radars and the rainbow eyeliner certainly doesn’t hinder getting attention. But don’t compare him to glam pop idol Adam Lambert.

“I don’t know too much about that dude, for sure,” he says. “Hopefully my songs are better.”

When asked if he might be the indie alternative to Lambert, O’Regan, 25, politely dismisses the idea. He understands that people want frames of reference, but he’s focused on becoming his own artist.

As the frontman of Canadian indie band The D’urbervilles, O’Regan wasn’t all that flashy, so Diamond Rings was something new for him.

“I didn’t want to be what people had seen before,” he says. “When I first started doing these shows, I was nervous in a good way. I enjoy pushing myself somewhere that I’d never been before.”

He unlocked this persona while being treated for inflammation in his GI tract. He wrote songs catering to his enamor of pop music. Although confident in his lyrics, he still wasn’t sure if he was just adding to the “clutter of music” out there. With an ever-present medical staff, he tried it out on them.

“I was going through a bit of an existential crisis, but seeing their reaction reaffirmed to me that music is for everybody, be it a garbage man or a doctor,” he says. “Realizing that gave me courage to do this.”

With pre-releases “All Yr Songs” and “Wait and See,” O’Regan received positive attention from the blogosphere and music publications. His 2010 album Special Affections lived up to hype with outlandish videos and that oh-so important music media buzz all indie musicians thrive for. Now he finds himself in his highest profile gig, opening for Robyn, who comes to Dallas Feb. 18. Is the pressure on? Not really.

“I am scaring myself a little playing on a bigger stage for new fans, but I’ve been learning so much,” he says. “To be with a performer like her who’s been making music at a high level is important for me. And fortunately, I’m surrounded by really good people.”

As for the Lambert comparison, audiences have yet to see him shave his legs and don a dress for his videos.

“It’s all coming back in slowly and not too itchy.”

But for sure O’Regan’s got Lambert beat in the guy-liner department.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 11, 2011.

—  John Wright