Jeff the Brotherhood jams. Diarrhea Planet shreds. The difference may seem slight – but go see both of them live and it’ll shine through in buckets of sweat and glistening guitar tech.
Both bands are from Nashville and are signed to Infinity Cat, a label that Jake and Jamin from Jeff the Brotherhood have run for the past 12 years now. Both bands make loud, gritty rock that incites mosh pits and beer guzzling “fuck yeahs!” from largely male fan bases. On paper, they're almost the same band, but at the 400-head capacity Rock and Roll Hotel on Friday night, the difference in energy and fan base was overwhelming. So much so that each set felt like a different concert.
Diarrhea Planet is often likened to a 15 year olds wet dream, complete with four guitars, power ballads about boners and getting drunk, and of course, their name. But when you reach past the kitsch and adolescent humor, it’s not hard to find a serious band that happens to be making some of the best rock and roll in 2014.
On stage Friday, after a 10 or so minute sound check (the pains of tuning all those guitars), DP blew through the hits of their most recent album, 2013’s I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, in tall manner. “Separation Anxiety”, “Kids” and “Lite Dream” were greeted with hollers and grins and the usual amount of moshing kids, singing every word. Still, when they dove into “Ghost With a Boner” the two line hit from 2010’s Aloha EP, the pit truly formed, leaving no prisoners as everyone drunkenly howled the simple, epic anthem. DP was not only on form; they were flaunting it, playing to a crowd that had long surrendered to the crushing weight of the ROCK.
As DP filtered off stage and JtB came on, a noticeably older, tamer crowd moved forward. Jamin Orrall’s drum kit was featured prominently upstage next to his brother’s pedal board, highlighting their significance as a duo. Playing through a set of mostly originals with two or three covers from their recent release, they peaked with their 2012 hit “Sixpack”, to the pleasure of the more casual fans.
The steady pace of solid riffs kept the rowdy vibe of the night rolling, but in the end the Brotherhood's set never quite hit the highs their brothers-in-arms in Diarrhea Planet shot to in their brief, but powerful set. That’s a faint condemnation though, because, really, WHO COULD follow Diarrhea Planet these days?
But let's forget about the slaying guitars and epic performances for a second - who is this dude in a hot dog suit that eats bananas on stage during every DC Diarrhea Planet show? Rumor has it he’s a DC citizen with a key to the church of DP. His tambourine skills are on point, as is his appetite for crowd surfing. While his presence may seem like a cheap antic, it gives you a glimpse into the psyche of the band– before you are 6 guys who are extremely serious about the music they make, but refuse to take on any boring, “industry” driven image. Their goofiness and anything goes approach is refreshing and fun - and perhaps part of their growing success.
Jeff The Brotherhood w/Diahrrea Planet @ The Rock & Roll Hotel (Photos by Kevin Hill)