Matthew Hughes/I and I Studios
Portland Rock presented DJ Diamond of the Stone Love sound system at a show at the Greek Palace,
Stone Love sound system is a household name among DJs and diehard reggae fans. At a Stone Love dance, it’s a time where connoisseurs of the genre gather to pay appreciation to the music and allow the DJ to showcase his or her turntable skills. In short, it’s a mixed-CD performed live by a Stone Love selector. DJ Diamond squashed the myth that only DJ Rory, also a Stone Love DJ, can juggle and perform excellent microphone skills.
Diamond placed his fingertips on the tables around midnight as I walked in on the classic dancehall reggae and lovers-rock set. Hearing songs from Sanchez, Beres Hammond and Wayne Wonder set the tone for attendees early on. Attempting to play newer dancehall music at the start of the set, Diamond read the crowd and, as an experienced DJ should, took us on a tour of classic and popular new reggae tunes. San Diego being a predominantly roots, culture and conscious reggae music community, Diamond was successful at getting the crowd on the dance floor.
Sparkling with personality, Diamond graciously took requests and gave shout-outs without hesitation. Juggling for nearly three hours, Diamond tossed out a set of hip-hop and seamlessly slipped back into the newer dancehall reggae, which yielded the acrobats entertaining the crowd with bedroom-like dancing. A Stone Love dance is never without some amount of slackness.
I’m still pondering why Diamond didn’t play for the duration of the event, since what happened after he left the tables was quite saddening. DJ Power of Portland Rock sound took control of the tables and not only played a late '70s rock, reggae tinged track but added so much muscle to the system that it sounded distorted. Power played exceptionally well prior to Diamond’s set.
So to those who opted to skip the event because of Rory absence, trust me: Diamond mirrors Rory’s ability to play for the crowd. Hopefully he’ll return next year, because the man played a wicked set.