What’s in a name?
On Sat, June 28th an up and coming band from Nashville, Tennessee, Diarrhea Planet destroyed the small downstairs stage at Fitzgeralds. The band has 4 guitar players (all of which sing), a bassist, and drummer. The stage was almost too small for a group with so many members notorious for putting on an extremely energetic show. The crowd was also relatively dismal for such a popular venue, but unfortunately the band was playing in the shadow of underground giants The Swans.
Although the audience was small it was filled with dedicated fans who were very happy to see the great band with the not so great name. During one quiet moment a fan creatively heckled, “Y’all should change your name!” To which one of the four front men shrugged in suggestive agreement with a halfcocked grin. It seems as if they’re used to that one. They’re so good that there’s not really much else anyone could say. As a matter of fact, this writer along with his small group all agreed that they were significantly better live compared to studio releases. They’re latest full-length attempt, I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, is epic however, when performed in person, members of the band not only sound as good as the record, they add a smorgasbord of extra flair with a whirlwind assault of guitar solos. The band is new and young which is great because they still have a chance to change their name before getting too much bigger.
Diarrhea Planet have been featured in various skateboarding publications as well as enjoying a warm reviews from SPIN and Pitchfork to name a few. Pitchfork, who was very impressed with their show, but not so much the title also genuinely urges people to witness this showcase. One might say they’ve exploded onto the scene. (Pun intended). No one takes you seriously when you’re all pumped for a show and someone asks, “Oh yeah, who you seeing?’ and you have to respond with, “Well, they’re a really great band, they just have a really bad name.” Not a good way to spread the word. Or is it? Ok… So enough about the name because aside from the particularly over-zealous staff on this evening, the show was Class A!
Diarrhea Planet’s sophomore full length album; released August 2013 on Infinity Cat Recordings is Rock n’ Roll gold. It would generally be categorized as pop-punk, post punk, indie rock, etc. Diarrhea Planet is so diverse that their mixture of punk spans an impressive range of rock sub-genres. The record is full of nostalgia. From songs that sound straight off a Ramones‘ album to parts that transport the listener to a 70’s arena rock show, you can almost visualize Pete Townshend doing his signature swing-strum during a rendition of Teenage Wasteland. Occasional strong southern-rock influences such as Lynyrd Skynyrd can also be heard as they stay true to their Nashville roots. As non-synonymous as Punk Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd are, Diarrhea Planet definitely makes it work. This pretty much applies exclusively to the guitar work. I’m rich beyond your Wildest Dreams also encompasses elements of surf and garage rock as well as artsy, indie breakdowns that sound like they could have been ripped (respectively) straight from a …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead… or Sonic Youth album.
Diarrhea Planet really has quite a bit to offer any lover of rock music, especially if you appreciate good old-fashioned shredding. It’s just enough to be impressive while not being completely overwhelming and ridiculous. Along with the name and all, it may seem almost like satire at times, but being satirical and borderline ridiculous appears to be exactly what the band is aiming for. The only other negative aspect of the show was the age of the audience. This almost 30 year old writer may have been among the oldest there and it showed as some people just do not know how to execute proper concert etiquette. The kids get the benefit of the doubt. At least the small crowd was showing some enthusiasm making Diarrhea Planet a great band to see if you’re new to witnessing rock shows. The average age may have been what encouraged the staff to unnecessarily circle the small crowd like vultures.
Not only is “Kids” a highlight and departure from some of their other material, its arguably the strongest song on the album showing that the band is more than just a punk band with killer chops, they can actually write some deep tunes! The crowd howled the phrase along with the entire band as the song drew to an epic close. It was clearly one of the high points of the set. The guys all smiled as they fed off the energy of the crowd and it would not be surprising to see them head more towards that direction in the future. The band played the majority of their sophomoric attempt as well as a good mix of material from their handful of singles and EP’s and first full length album, Loose Jewels.
Few negative aspects aside, Diarrhea Planet brought it! “They’ve heard the new music”. Nashville is known for having musicians that know their way around the ol’ six-string and these guys surely exemplify the stereotype. Most people may think, initially at least, that four guitars is complete overkill, but the “wall of sound” that they achieve by incorporating such an ensemble is something rarely enjoyed in the modern rock/punk scene. The wall of sound phrase is a common recording technique that was widely used during the 90’s reign of grunge rock and still is. This technique allowed 3 piece bands such as Nirvana to sound like Diarrhea Planet does live without having four guitar players. The onslaught of strings and vocals was nothing short of awe striking to the extent to which if anticipated, you may experience goose bumps and find the hair on the back of the neck rise. This young band has a sound that can easily appeal to all walks of rock fans so By the Barricade strongly recommends experiencing this show when they hit your town. Be sure to bring as many people who will go see a band named Diarrhea Planet with you as possible because you will be thanked later!