Diarrhea Planet in Ithaca: Far from a crappy concert

Review: Despite being down one guitarist, the Nashville-based power rockers charmed a tiny crowd at The Haunt in Ithaca on Sunday, Oct. 26.

What’s in a name? That which we call Diarrhea Planet by any other name would sound as sweet. Despite, or perhaps in virtue of, having what could possibly be one of the worst band names of the decade, Diarrhea Planet rocked The Haunt in Ithaca, N.Y. last Sunday with their brand of heavy metal, '90s tributes and just plain rock 'n’ roll.

Local band Lust opened with a loud, slightly sloppy set that set the tone for the evening. We were going to have our faces melted and we were going to like it. Lust was solid, if not predictable. They performed like the local bar act that they were and they did it well. No fuss. Just rock. The vocals were shaky and strained at times, but they were back by authoritative instrumentals. When Lust finished their set, they strolled offstage and assumed mosh pit position for the arrival of Diarrhea Planet.

DP was short one of their four guitar players that evening, but three shredding axes were plenty. The band produced high-decibel, high-energy rock that never left the audience wanting. The greatest injustice of the night was the size of the crowd at The Haunt. Barely 30 people were there to hear the band, but that didn’t stop Diarrhea Planet from putting on a riotous show. The meager mosh pit reflected the musical momentum as bodies smashed against one another in what amounted to a really aggressive hug.

Guitarist and singer Jordan Smith engaged the crowd in the way only a rock star can. He assumed the power stance, pointed to the audience and wailed on his instrument. It was clear that these guys weren’t all flash, however.  Diarrhea Planet is a band full of talented musicians hiding behind the façade of a crappy name. DP is tricky. Just when you think you’re listening to a wall of sound, you can pick out intricate glissandos, Eddie Van Halen-style riffs and thoughtful lyrics. I’m onto you, Diarrhea Planet.

DP shook The Haunt with “Ghost With a Boner” and slowed the tempo without losing an ounce of intensity when they played “Kids.” Adding to their pop-metal repertoire, the band played a few songs from their forthcoming EP, Aliens in the Outfield. “Bamboo Curtain” was simultaneously hard rocking and pure pop. It was “Platinum Girls,” however, that stole the show. The EP featuring both tunes will be released by Infinity Cat Recordings on Nov. 18.

When the time came for DP to slip out and call it a night, the band answered the crowd’s pleas for more music. They played not one, not two, but three additional songs, including a rendition of “Semi-Charmed Life” that rocked harder than Third Eye Blind could ever dream to. Mustachioed guitarist Evan Bird took over the vocals and nailed the nostalgia of the '90s.

The crowd was left with ringing ears and wide grins. Diarrhea Planet satisfied.

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