Friday, April 25, 2014

Stage Dives and Skeleton Heads: Diarrhea Planet with Mad Nomad live at Stickyz

Posted By on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 4:44 PM

click to enlarge Diarrhea Planet - MORGAN SYKES
  • Morgan Sykes
  • Diarrhea Planet

“It’s quiet in here. Really quiet.” This declaration from the frontman of local favorites (and this year's Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase victors) Mad Nomad last night at Stickyz was, as I heard it, a gauntlet thrown, a provocation, an incitement to the twenty or so assembled to leave the cozy confines of their votive-lit tables and come forth to get visceral — to shimmy, sweat or at the very least stand in front of stage. There was a hopeful pause. Alas, instead of some reassuring hollering or an obliging congregation of receptive fans who just needed to gulp down a few more before getting loose, there was a silence that one could stretch out and nap in. It was cringe-inducing. I grew concerned over how this night would devolve, as the awkwardness was tangible and I wanted better for these excellent bands, especially headliners Diarrhea Planet. However, despite the impediment of a thin and at least initially uptight crowd, Mad Nomad and Diarrhea Planet delivered, playing sets that were powerful, lush and in Diarrhea Planet’s case, ecstatically awesome.

I rolled into Stickyz at 9:30 and had I not heard really loud live music when I drove by on my quest for a parking space, I would have thought I was in the wrong place. I must have just missed the first set from Little Rock locals Crooked Roots. Mad Nomad launched into their riff-heavy, energetic brand of rock that this paper has described as “weirdly nostalgic.” This is not a bad thing. Au contraire. Their music is, to me, the sonic equivalent of a really drunk BBQ in mid summer on your best friend’s patio that gets crashed by some unanticipated but totally welcome sexy strangers. The percussion is unrelenting and propulsive, and along with Joe Holland's textured vocals, the sum total of the whole shebang is really well-crafted music to get down to.

I've already mentioned that, unfortunately for Mad Nomad (and not for lack of trying), there was minimal getting-down happening stage-front during their set. I have also mentioned that this concerned me. Mad Nomad had responded to the crowd’s coldness with sarcastic stage banter (“Thanks for the crowd, guys; How many songs left?”) — who can blame them — and their sensual music was driven by an increasingly frenetic, borderline aggressive let’s-get-this-over-with energy. It didn’t work against their music; in fact, they sounded great, even if it was clear they were not digging the show’s vibe. I was concerned because up next was Nashville-based Diarrhea Planet, a punk-influenced collective that purveys raucously joyful anthem-ready singalong rock gems and is renowned (via Pitchfork, SPIN, Washington Post, etc.) for the energy and enthusiasm of their live show. If the crowd, which mostly consisted of texting high school students and a smattering of aloof indie denizens, remained this frigid, I wondered how Diarrhea Planet’s live show, which in my experience was fueled by a symbiotic give and take with the crowd, would adapt.

I don’t know why I was concerned. When the six-piece band took the stage, looking a little fatigued and wary perhaps but also intent and focused, the energy shift was colossal. People emerged from the venue’s hinterlands, testing out their dance moves and fist pumps like bashful seventh graders at first but then, feeding off the spectacle before them, with greater conviction. And “spectacle” is the right word. These guys put on a show. They jump around, assume 80’s music-video formations, and get their fans on stage (inviting one fellow, cheekily identified as the “least punk person in the room”, to come sing onstage “to prove anyone can be punk” in a refreshing rebuttal against the inaccessible, too-cool nihilism pervasive in punk rock). They took requests. They played fan favorites, including the manic “Ghost with a Boner” and “Separations," pitching the room into a crescendo, as well as what they identified as new material, which sounded excellent. The crowd, finally drunk enough, was getting loose. An ill-advised stage dive was attempted, briefly destabilizing what was possibly a crucial piece of equipment. Things were bouncy enough stage-front that glass was shattered. The band, who at the start of the show was just delivering a performance because they’re professionals and that’s what they do, was not just giving anymore — there was a symbiosis of crowd and band, elevating it from a one-sided show to an experience. And, at the end of it all, they played two extra songs, obliging the crowd’s requests for more, concluding with a goosebumps-inducing rendition of “Skeleton Head.” 

Full disclosure: I was not a bystander during this show, not that I think that it particularly matters. I was front and center, bouncing around like a lunatic with complete and utter disregard for my dignity. My flailing limbs had succeeded in clearing a six-foot radius, and despite the space I had commandeered, I found myself occasionally careening into some very patient showgoers (perhaps now is the time to say: I’m sorry for sweating on you, kind strangers). I didn’t care at the time. Not because I’m an asshole, though arguments could be made to support this assignation. But I was on a different planet. I had teleported elsewhere.
click to enlarge diarrhea-planet_hi-res.jpg

Diarrhea Planet
will be back in Little Rock for Riverfest, and are scheduled to play the Stickyz stage Sunday, May 25th at 8 p.m.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Speaking of...

  • Oxford American unveils Texas Music Issue

    November 11, 2014
    The Little Rock-based Oxford American magazine released the cover of its Kickstarter-funded Texas Music Issue this afternoon, featuring a 1975 portrait of Guy and Susanna Clark. They also released details about the magazine and the accompanying CD /more/
  • Big Piph announces five-episode documentary, 'I Am Not Them' (Trailer)

    November 5, 2014
    Globetrotting Little Rock rapper-activist Big Piph has announced the release of a new, five-part, autobiographical documentary series focusing on his music and his education and relief efforts abroad and locally, through his organization Global Kids Arkansas. The series will premiere tomorrow and was directed by Arkansas Times Visionary Kenneth Bell. /more/
  • Watch the trippy new video for Peckerwolf's 'Give Up, Give In'

    November 4, 2014
    Here's something new from Little Rock's Peckerwolf, finalists at this year's Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase and long-time purveyors of brash, riff-heavy stoner rock (or as they call it, "precious metal"). The song was the opening track on their self-titled EP, released in July, and the video was directed by Aaron Sarlo (Duckstronaut, The Dangerous Idiots, etc.). /more/
  • Pallbearer Demos to be released on vinyl

    November 4, 2014
    Olympia, Washington record lable 20 Buck Spin has announced the vinyl-only release of Pallbearer's "Demos," previously only available on limited edition CD-R and cassette, on December 9. The demos date back to 2010, before the Little Rock doom metal group's now-classic debut, "Sorrow and Extinction." /more/
  • New video from Rodney CoLe, 'Iverson'

    November 4, 2014
    Here's the latest from Little Rock's Rodney CoLe, who you should really be listening to, another track from his upcoming tape, "CIGARELOTIVE," which he says to expect early next year. He has an infectious voice, and he's a bright, sensitive writer: "I heard memory lane was just a mile long / I dial on my friends but all I ever get is dial tones." /more/
  • New video from Adam Faucett, 'Ancient Chord'

    November 4, 2014
    Here is Adam Faucett playing a new song at an orchard in Charlottesville, Virginia, courtesy of the Garage Video Sessions. He looks very much at home in an overgrown, abandoned house, which I mean as more or less a compliment. Buy his great new album, "Blind Water Finds Blind Water," via Last Chance Records, and check out the Guest Mix he made for us last month back in September. /more/
  • Breaking: Al Green's bull has escaped, is on the loose

    November 3, 2014
    Forrest City native and soul icon Al Green has a problem. For t /more/
  • Guest Mix: Christopher Farris Terry (C.T.)

    November 3, 2014
    I try to listen to music constantly. I don't listen to as much creepingly heavy metal as one would think, and when I do it's an entire album at a time instead of mixed up. Any mixtape I make usually has Paige Anderson and the Fearless Kin on it. I also LOVE soft rock hits. I have entire comps put together of this stuff, I can't make a comp without some. /more/
  • New album from 607, 'GrowTivation'

    October 31, 2014
    Here we have it: The first serious challenger to Lo Thraxx's "Deep Waters" for best local album cover of the year (This is an actual contest, by the way). Also, more importantly, it's 607's 40th album (40!), "GrowTivation," and easily one of his most ambitious yet, with references to Goodie Mob and Lime-A-Ritas (in the same song) and 16 tracks of aggressive, technically impressive rap. He calls out the LRPD for jamming it's scanners on "10-4" and even pulls out some Auto-Tune on "I See You." /more/
  • Garth Brooks coming to Verizon in December

    October 29, 2014
    For the first time in 23 years, Garth Brooks is coming to Arkansas on his World Tour with Tricia Yearwood. He'll play two shows at Verizon Arena: 7 p.m. Friday Dec. 12 and Saturday Dec. 13. Tickets go on sale Friday Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. (or as the press release puts it: "10 a.m. sharp!") and will be available at or 1-800-745-3000. All tickets are $73.25. /more/
  • More »

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Morgan Sykes

  • 'Not Nostalgic': A Q&A with Fayetteville's SW/MM/NG

    The fellows from Fayetteville’s SW/MM/NG are about to go places— literally, as they hit the road next month as part of a national tour with stops far from home, and more figuratively, as they’ve procured a spot on Old Flame Records’ roster and are poised to finally release their full-length debut.
    • Jul 22, 2014
  • A Q&A with Jason Wiest, the new host of KABF's 'Big Gay Radio Show'

    Jason Wiest was announced on June 23rd as the new host of KABF’s “Big Gay Radio Show,” which is the state’s only LBGT-specific programming. Weist is a man of many hats: his nine to five hustle is as Governor Beebe’s speechwriter, but on Friday nights you can find him at Sway, the downtown gay club he owns and operates (perhaps you recall his cameo in the recent feature on the House of Avalon).
    • Jul 15, 2014
  • A Q&A with Diarrhea Planet

    Following their excellent show, I sat down with Jordan Smith (guitar/vocals), Emmett Miller (guitar/vocals), and Brent Toler (guitar/vocals) as they shed some light on the highs and lows of relentless touring, unlikely influences (Prince is in the mix), and imminent world domination.
    • Jun 2, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • The Quapaw return to Arkansas

    Casino try a good bet.
  • Jean Gordon to receive Truth Teller award

    Jean Gordon, who's worked a half-century in just about every social justice and peace movement you can name, will receive the Arkansas Community Institute's 2014 Community Truth Teller Award at a program at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the library's Darragh Center
  • The French Hill 'tis better to receive-than-give open line

    An open line that features new Congressman French HIll's antipathy in the Catholic newspaper to Obamacare as a "giveaway" to drug companies and hospitals. A Catholic nurse points out that children and other people in need are the real beneficiaries of this giveaway, along with Catholic hospitals.
  • Fan happiness over Hogs' win over LSU costs UA $25,000 UPDATED

    The University of Arkansas will be fined $25,000 by the SEC because Hog fans stormed the football field after Saturday's victory over LSU snapped a long SEC losing streak. It was a second offense by the UA of the conference's "access to competition area" policy.
  • GOP's new Obamacare attack

    It was inevitable. The long crusade against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has pivoted from a battle against socialism to a populist war against big business: The program known as Obamacare is now supposed to be merely a feed trough for the captains of industry, not a government program to force health care on the undeserving poor.

Most Recent Comments



© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation