An Evening With Desert Diamonds

Monday, September 22, 2008, 10:41 —by Eddie Phanichkul
This item was posted in San Diego Concerts and Music, San Diego Entertainment category and has 1 Comment so far.

There’s a drought in southern California. After all, we do live in a desert. Rock and roll seems to be as elusive as rain clouds in the sky. Could rock and roll too be a product of global warming? No. While rock and roll is in remission, so-to-speak, you just have to dig a little deeper to find good rock bands. Desert Diamonds are a diamond in the rough. Desert Diamonds are a hidden gem. Enough cliche for you? Desert Diamonds are gritty rock and funk in a tasty melodic soup.

Sitting at the bar with an artist friend, Bullet McKenzie, these kids walk up to us. Bullet, known for her good taste in music and boys, knows the band. She introduces me and we chit-chat for a few minutes. They’re young, hip, and dressed accordingly for the Office Bar, formerly Scolari’s Office, a newly gentrified victim in North Park, San Diego.

The band takes the stage and starts to play. It pays to look cool. I’m jealous of drummer Andrew Jones’ bad-ass mustache that would make Magnum PI look weak. The singer, Gabe Cross, wears a trendy button up shirt and calls himself an “axe-man.” Lead guitar player Dusty Wheeler, whose name sounds as if he’s already a rock or porn star, provides wicked blues riffs.

Cross’ vocals are outstanding. Though I hate describing someones style or sound using other artists, the best way to portray Cross’ sound is to say he’s somewhere between Scott Weiland of STP and Julian Casablancas of the Strokes–no offense to Gabe Cross.

The bluesy, southern guitar riffs and kick-ass solo work by Dusty Wheeler left an impression of joy in my ears. I think the term could be described as an eargasm, but I’ve only seen these guys once and don’t want to give them too much credit yet.

Drummer Andrew Jones kept it real. His simple beats were testament to the fact that rock drummers are an integral part of any rock band. In a few of their songs, they have massive timing shifts and Jones was the glue that made it all possible.

Bass player Matt Wick played well. I did note a harsh feedback present, but there was nary a thing he could do about it. He played on. He played strong. His bass lines were rhythmic and deep. If he were playing rock band, he would have been in a bass grove and glowing blue.

The band slays the audience. Rough, back-to-basics rock has been missing from the streets, but the Desert Diamonds kids can definitely roll–pun intended. Their sound is good, and the energy they put out is through the roof. Their music gives cause to the rock culture in southern California.

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One Response to “An Evening With Desert Diamonds”

  1. Patti Shields Roberts said on Monday, December 7, 2009, 0:42

    Where are you playing next?

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