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Though Those Darlins and Diarrhea Planet may be polar opposites on the band name spectrum—cute vs. scatological—there’re some undeniable similarities. Both outfits have the same Tennessee roots, and neither should be judged by their name. Those Darlins are not your average sweethearts, and Diarrhea Planet is anything but shitty.
Garage rockers Diarrhea Planet made an explosive (teehee) entrance. The audience thrashed to match, as circle pits swirled open to welcome the six-piece to the stage. Lots of material from the band’s sophomore effort, 2013’s I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, made the setlist. The layer-upon-layer of six-stringed goodness in the ultra-catchy Separations made for a sonically soaring cacophony. When it comes to strings, DP seems to stick to “the more the merrier” mantra. Four guitars push the riffage factor into extreme territory, though those tipping-point interludes are where DP really shines.
Midway through the set, frontman Jordan Smith waxed poetic about punk rock: “Anyone can be punk. Your six year-old niece can be a punk.” And towards the end of it all, in true punk fashion, Diarrhea Planet stepped up the mayhem another notch. Smith urged the audience to break a crowd-surfing record, and they did their darndest. Airborne patrons made their way to the stage, diving back into the audience. Guitarist Emmett Miller scaled a balcony railing with axe in hand and proceeded to shred from atop. Panties were thrown on stage, which Smith promptly donned as a hat.
Gritty, country-tinged rock ‘n’ rollers Those Darlins took the stage sans frills, moving straight into Be Your Bro. “I just wanna run and play in the dirt with you/
You just wanna stick it in,” crooned frontwoman Jessi Zazu, aka Jessi Darlin. Pixie cut-coiffed and standing at around five-feet tall, she’s unexpectedly brazen and confident, a true presence. She singled out audience members with direct eye contact, challenging them to hold her steadfast gaze. In this way, Those Darlins kept things intense in an entirely different sense than Diarrhea Planet’s manic, guitar-flipping, bells and whistles-laden set. Those Darlins maintained a level of extreme intimacy, unapologetically broaching the personal.
The stand-out moment was That Man off 2013’s Blur The Line, the quartet’s third studio release. Zazu’s theatrics included batting eyelashes and a high-pitched, over-emphasized Southern drawl. Zazu and guitarist/sometimes-singer Nikki Kvarnes played off each other, synergistically multiplying the power packed.
The encore brought two members of Diarrhea Planet back on stage, allowing Kvarnes to take a “break” from her guitar duties to dominate the mic. Intense in extremely different ways, Those Darlins and Diarrhea Planet make quite the Nashville (touring) power-couple.
Photos by Ryan McNamara and Keri Tracy .