Home / Music / Concert Reviews / Diarrhea Planet w/ Heavy Hand and Midwives @ Cactus Club

Diarrhea Planet w/ Heavy Hand and Midwives @ Cactus Club

Jan. 17, 2014

Jan. 19, 2014
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Let’s cut right to the chase: Diarrhea Planet is a very, very good band, and their live show is as memorable as it is unmistakably their own. With a name like “Diarrhea Planet,” it’s hard to imagine much besides a punk band, but the Nashville group’s live show, while (mercifully) short on G.G. Allin-like antics, is strong on personality, seemingly-endless shredding and artful melody that steadily defies easy genre labels. Featuring four guitarists—and a top-notch rhythm section, too—Diarrhea Planet brought their joyous and raucous sounds to the Cactus Club on Friday.

Openers Midwives and Heavy Hand represented Milwaukee, kicking off the show with blistering yet precise hardcore punk and Superchunk on acid vibes, respectively. Both bands have a unique intensity—Midwives started the night with an edgy and modern take on a distinctively early '80s hardcore sound, and Heavy Hand held their own with hooky yet abrasive songs reminiscent of Pavement at their catchiest.

Diarrhea Planet began their set for a full room, and if the crowd was initially unsure of where they wanted to stand, the band made the decision for them. It’s not everyday that a band feels worth fighting through a crowd for, but Diarrhea Planet is that band. There’s an Andrew W. K.-meets-Ramones spirit at work in their live show, a winning exuberance that makes watching them a blast. Starting the set with “Lite Dream,” the opening track from 2013’s fantastic I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, Diarrhea Planet proceeded to delight and energize their audience—and, it seemed, themselves.

Four guitarists could seem like a recipe for brutally incongruous songwriting and endless noise, but one of the best parts about watching Diarrhea Planet is seeing them pull off their sound with a lineup that would, to many, seem bloated. Sure, they’re loud, but they’re not incomprehensible, and though the vocals were occasionally overpowered, the balance the band was able to maintain throughout the night’s set was impressive. Shattering the concept of “lead guitarist,” all four guitarists took the lead on at least one song, and somehow, worked together flawlessly, no matter who was shredding front and center. Whether building to an epic guitar-fest on “Skeleton Head” or getting wild and fuzzy on “Fauser,” Diarrhea Planet spent the night showing themselves as far from a one-trick pony—they’re just as comfortable crafting pretty, twinkling solos as they are ripping up noisy, aching riffs. Switching effortlessly between power-pop anthems and buzzy, growling screamers, the band never stopped playing to their strengths, and to that, there’s only one thing to say: Long live Diarrhea Planet.


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