Diarrhea Planet has a difficult name. I hesitate to say it in public for fear of losing what little respectability I have. But after seeing them live, it’s hard to not talk about them.
Their newest album, I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, is cacophonous, occasionally angst-fraught, and usually ridiculously fun. The album’s lyrics deal with estrangement, boredom, and troubled relationships, among other things, but the music is pure happiness in sonic form, propelled by chummy vocals and the universal language of guitar solos.
Upon discovering that Diarrhea Planet was playing at Beat Kitchen in Belmont, I bought my ticket and recruited an open-minded friend to join. Following two solid sets by openers Shiloh and the Lovely Bad Things, Diarrhea Planet came on stage and kicked things off with a long and extremely loud jam that led into the frantic and frenetic “Lite Dream.” The moshing started immediately and kept impressive pace throughout the set. I’m a pretty fragile kid, so I stayed out of their way, but their energy was much appreciated.
From the five dudes shredding in front of an amiably sweaty drummer, to the dozens of kids bouncing off each other in the pit, to the few brave souls flailing above them, smiles were everywhere. The band crowd-surfed, offered their microphones to audience members to sing along from the pit, and performed an endless repertoire of corny rock star poses while frontman Jordan Smith joked about his teenage years as if they were just around the corner. Diarrhea Planet’s most popular songs are “Separations” and “Kids,” but with their childlike enthusiasm and virtuosic dexterity, the band managed to transform every song in their set into a crowd favorite.
As the show ended, I was smiling. I smiled on the Red Line, which I didn’t know was possible, and even at the Garfield bus stop, at least until the forty-five minute wait for the 55 bus stymied my high spirits. When I revisit I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, the smile returns. The feeling of communal exuberance is a joy rarely experienced in my daily life. Diarrhea Planet’s show was a sixty-minute flash flood of such joy, a sugar high that concluded, miraculously, not with a crash but with a song, a rowdy and rousing performance of “Skeleton Head” to close out the night.