I finally have a real-life rock show coming up. Sure, I’ve been to some outdoor shows since the beginning of the pandemic but those weren’t quite rock shows. This one is and it’s being headlined by a favorite local group of mine, Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band. Even though I love this band and have seen them perform a few times, I’ve never actually spent much time listening to them at home. That changes now. Thankfully, Nato Coles and The Blue Diamond Band’s ‘Flyover’ album is one that has been sitting on my desk and now seems as good of a time as ever to check it out so let’s go!
My heart started to flutter as soon as “Under the Flyover” took over my speakers. I was instantly transported back to all of the times I’ve seen this band live in the past and instantly dreaming of what Saturday night will be like. This opening track doesn’t hold back from giving you a feel for the power that Nato Coles and his amazing band have. A little retro Bruce Springsteen feeling and oh so full of pure rock & roll energy, this opening track hit the spot and I found myself completely captivated. That excitement continued as “L.P’s Yard” took over my speakers. Just as anthemic but a slight edge of tenderness that “Under the Flyover” didn’t quite have, I could already taste the cheap beer that I would be enjoying while seeing this brilliant band live on Saturday.
“Phoenix, Arizona (1989)” starts off a bit slower than the previous tracks before Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band’s distinct sound of power comes through and takes over. Even though this track is just under five minutes long, the driving drum beat catapults this song forward and, before I knew it, it had been replaced by “Milo and the Bars”. Almost expanding on the more slow-paced intro of “Phoenix, Arizona (1989)”, “Milo and the Bars” is the most tender and downright beautiful track on this album. I’m not going to lie, this wasn’t my favorite track on the album because I am so about the wall of sound that this group can produce but seeing this more sensitive side of the band was a treat. Even though I’ve seen them live a few times, I don’t recall ever hearing such a beautiful track live but now I’m hoping maybe I get a little taste of this side of the band on Saturday night.
No need to fear, things amp right back up for “Demolition Man” which has to be another favorite of mine off this album, if not from this band. A shredding guitar solo kicks this track off and really sets the time for this almost thrashier garage-punk-styled track. A prominent organ obviously had my ears all kinds of perked up but, beyond that, this is just one of those songs that makes you stop whatever you’re doing and demands your attention with ease. There’s just so much power, so much energy, so much attitude- so much everything you could ever ask for in a singular track. Even as the song takes a slight break about halfway through, there’s something so captivating about everything happening at all times throughout this song.
“Standing on the Corner Alone” brings back the more retro vibe in all of the right ways. This dancey little track had me smiling from ear to ear and dancing around my desk like a damn fool. It’s so anthemic, so fun, and, like some other tracks, seemed to fly by. I wasn’t done dancing my butt off as the album moved onto “The Roadrunner” but I found “The Roadrunner” to be just infectious. The sound of this song is just a wee bit brighter than the previous track which made it hit especially hard. It may not have been a super sunny day up here in Minneapolis today but this track had me feeling like I was basking under a California sun.
“Disposable Camera” is another track on this album that showcases a side of Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band that I feel like I’ve never really experienced. It’s a bit more folksy while still being that distinctive retro-rock vibe that this band does so expertly. The vocals of this track really showcase Nato’s talent. It’s clear he has talent throughout all of these songs but I feel like this one really lets you take it all in, one word at a time. Sadly, I was so lost in this track that, before I knew it, it was done, and “The Avenue of the Saints” had taken over my house.
There’s something completely epic about this track and, rightfully so. This is the final track on ‘Flyover’ and it really closes out this album perfectly. It leaves you with Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band’s distinct sound in your ears but also a smile on your face. Even though it’s seven minutes long, I found myself lost for words and, again, just imagining how amazing Saturday night is going to be. Even if you aren’t going to be at the show on Saturday, listening to this album will surely transport you to your favorite dive bar so check it out, sit back, enjoy, and get lost in the amazing power and sounds of Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band.
My Favorite Track(s): “Michelle of the City”; “Demolition Man”
For Fans Of: Energy; Retro Garage Rock; Smiling and Dancing
Dance-ability: 8 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Both cats slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 10 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 9 out of 10
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