Saturday, April 11, 2015
Examining the Nashville band Diarrhea Planet from a distance, it’s easy to make arguments against them. The name alone invites easy criticism, not to mention the fact that two-thirds of the sextet play guitar. That statistic makes the band seem like a hokey, over-the-top, one-trick pony, especially to skeptics who have yet to become Planeteers. And the recorded material is only OK.
Seeing Diarrhea Planet live, though, puts those concerns to rest for all but the most serious attendees—few of which seemed to be present at Kings in Raleigh on Saturday night. After an instrumental introduction that essentially gave the sextet an excuse (like they needed one) to stack guitar solo after guitar solo, the band ripped into “Ghost With A Boner,” a fan favorite that suggests a garage tryst between the Ramones and a cast of ‘80s arena rock gods. Within minutes of taking the stage, the guitarists had already gone from fingertapping to behind-the-head solos to notes plucked with teeth, one member even mocking his own theatrics with an air guitar solo performed on the body of his reversed guitar. The audience echoed that energy—beers were flung, bodies were jostled, crowds were surfed.
While every song wasn’t as easy to shout along with or quite so outlandish as the refrain-heavy opener that doesn’t even use a dozen different words, Diarrhea Planet kept the riffs-per-minute high. They blitzed through 15 or so songs in little more than 30 minutes, from the triumphant shredfest of “Kids” to the pedal-to-the-floor whirlwind of “Lite Dream” and the power pop crunch of “Platinum Girls.” During a jubilant encore that kicked off with The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” introduced as the greatest rock ‘n’ roll song of all time, the band spilled into the crowd as often as it remained on stage.
It was one of the only times Diarrhea Planet deviated from its standard garage-punk template, loaded with hooks and guitars. But I found it hard to complain when the performance only amplified a formula that’s already tons of fun.