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Concert review: Nashville's finest takes Columbus to Diarrhea Planet

Posted by Chris DeVille | August 16, 2013 12:46 PM

Five quick thoughts on Diarrhea Planet's show Thursday at The Basement:

(1) Didn't see Bummers or So So Glos, which is indeed a bummer, but so so it goes. (Durrr.) On the other hand, I don't know how people who were there the whole night survived. Had I already absorbed that much rock power before Diarrhea Planet even stepped on stage, I might have been knocked unconscious by the Nashville beer-punks and their ridiculously joyous four-guitar onslaught.

(2) Four guitars! Four guitars? Four guitars. And they get the most of that arrangement. Sometimes all four guitarists blast off into the same power chord, resulting in ultimate density, and quite possibly ultimate destiny. Other times some of them kick out high-range lead parts that range from bar-band blues bends to precise Strokes incisions. Sometimes they even unfurl harmonized tapping solos out of Metallica or Thin Lizzy. This is joyous experience for the audience and even more so for the band; it's the kind of thing that puts air in your lungs, the kind that makes you wonder how other bands get by with less than four guitarists.

(3) On Twitter this week, music critic David Greenwald called the band "'90s revival for people who're still convinced they don't like New Found Glory." There's probably some truth to that, but to these ears the band is a time machine to an earlier era than the late '90s. Diarrhea Planet came on a lot of people's radar earlier this year when it covered "Born To Run" with Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles on vocals. That song didn't make the setlist Thursday, but these guys had plenty of originals that tapped into that same shamelessly emotive, wide-eyed, big-hearted feeling. Diarrhea Planet's anthems recall a time when rock was the biggest genre in the world, both in terms of musical scope and popularity. Although the stuff goes over wonderfully in a tight space like The Basement, it's built to thrive in venues with no ceiling — venues like this. How funny would it be if a band called Diarrhea Planet got huge enough to headline Bonnaroo (in its native Tennessee, no less)? Swept up in Thursday night's euphoria, it seemed realistic.

(4) They've certainly got the rock-star moves down, whether that means stripping off a T-shirt, leaning out across the crowd during a triumphant solo or leaning back into a bandmate as if you're wringing so much electricity from your instrument you might tip over. All four guitarists were very, very into it. Shout-out to the drummer and bassist, by the way; having so many guitarists, all of whom contribute vocals, means Diarrhea Planet's rhythm section fades into the background even more than usual. It takes an extra dose of humility to cede the spotlight in the midst of so much madness.

(5) Those guys held it down, too. Diarrhea Planet shows are unhinged ragers, but the band never came close to running off the rails. A keen bit of insight from Tim Horak of Columbus bands Way Yes and Van Dale: Whereas a lot of groups like this — say, FIDLAR — get smashed before they play, there was only one beer visible on stage Thursday amidst many, many water bottles. They shredded clear-headed, and the result was energy and precision, not the dull recital some folks might expect when alcohol doesn't figure prominently in the equation. That's not intended as some straight-edge sermon. It's just another way Diarrhea Planet defies expectations.

Diarrhea Planet's I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams is out Aug. 20 on Infinity Cat and is streaming at SPIN right now.

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