Diarrhea Planet With Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires and Party Static Three Links Wednesday, June 25, 2015
What's it mean to party? The guys in Diarrhea Planet know a thing or two about it. In fact, they almost have it down to a science. It involves lots of guitars, plenty of long hair and a touch too much testosterone. As the heavy-riffing punks from Nashville returned to Dallas on Wednesday night, there weren't too many surprises thrown in there. (No one sang "Born to Run" with them, for instance.) But then straying from the formula isn't really the point of this party.
If anything felt particularly enlightening about Diarrhea Planet's set last night, it was what came before they'd even started properly playing. Some technical issues with the guitar pedals slowed them down from getting started, so in the interim they killed time by noodling on classic rock riffs. There was some Heart, some AC/DC, even some Prince with a hilariously high-pitched falsetto thrown in. If you wondered what these guys did in their free time, this was probably as good of an indicator as any.
Once things got going, there was finger-tapping, shredding and whipped hair galore. Most songs didn't need lyrics so much as one line that would be good enough to repeat between the solos. Needless to say, it was catchy and fast-paced, the sort of stuff to sing along or raise a beer to. Or, of course, to mosh to.
Ah yes, moshing. What does it mean to get old? The guys in the crowd -- and there were a lot of dudes there, with the ratio sliding further in their direction as the set stretched on -- probably know a thing or two about that. Not that it was an old crowd. But Diarrhea Planet play young man's music that is only slightly grown up -- a little grittier, a little more raucous and a little more world-wearied, too. It's pop punk for people in their late 20s or 30s. They might feel embarrassed to admit they still like the stuff at that age, but they don't have to be embarrassed about Diarrhea Planet.
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Appropriately, though, it was a slow, serious song called "Kids" that was really the heart of the show -- an appropriate paradox if there ever were one. With heavy lyrics about the weight of the world and a gradual build-up, "Kids" had an emotional depth that made the other songs feel one-dimensional. Growing up can be a drag, but the grown-ups will probably try tell you the good times are more fun once you appreciate it.
And what does it mean to, well, give a shit? Lee Bains III knows a thing or two about that. The Alabama singer and his band, the Glory Fires, brought a similarly rowdy mix of punk and classic rock with a distinctly Southern flair as Diarrhea Planet's openers. Bains just about sang his head off; in fact, the veins in his neck looked about ready to burst at any moment from the effort. He continually jumped up on his drummer's kit and ran out into the audience, even carrying his guitarist on his shoulders at one point. By the end he was drenched in sweat.
But this wasn't just Bains the party animal. He played not only as if his life depended on it, but as though the world did too. He regularly addressed the songs to issues that Mattered: one was dedicated to Rick Perry and affordable health care, another to a town that fought to keep WalMart out and another decried the commercialization of (wait for it) NASCAR. If anyone had played "Born to Run," it should've been Bains. Or maybe "Fortunate Son" would've been more apt.
Either way, it was both sides of the same coin last night. (And can we hear if for the Party Static? Yes?!) Each party inevitably has its kick back and being young inevitably means getting old. But on the right night in the right bar, those truths can all be put on hold. Or, at the least, they can all work together.