We are small metal boxes sitting on the stage. We are sadists. We like being stepped on. Ever want to watch metal squirm? Then watch us. We scream with delight, howling out a plethora of sounds while electricity shoots through our bodies.
While waiting for Diarrhea Planet and JEFF The Brotherhood to take the stage, I imagined that this is what these musicians’ pedals may be thinking. Underground Arts stage was covered in them. The looming double bill of two of Nashville’s most enjoyable garage rock bands, and I imagined that these pedals knew and craved the onslaught of punishment they would receive over the next few hours. And punishment they received.
Fitting to my pre-show daydream, Diarrhea Planet came out sporting local pedal maker TSVG shirts and raged hard. Singer and Guitarist Jordan Smith led his crew through an ocean of carefully crafted Guitar riffs as they uncorked a massive dose of unfiltered rock and roll. As their show unfolded it became clear that the band played up all the moments we had come to love in the history of Rock. Three songs in and they launched us into “Separations,” a beast of a song that sent bodies flying around the stage. Emmett Miller stepped up to the microphone and leaned deep into the wall of fans on “Kids” before laying waste to his guitar strings and our already hurting eardrums. Miller, Evan Bird, and Brent Toler had honed their skills on their guitars. They threaded together multiple tones and licks into a wall of glorious songs off of their forthcoming EP, Aliens in the Outfield. Smith wailed on “Platinum Girls,” and took pleasure in the vocal duties on the 90’s appropriate cover of Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life” that ended their set. Nashville’s favorite guitar army had delighted the fans that packed the basement at Underground Arts.
The Nashville love was clearly on in Philly Saturday night as all of Diarrhea Planet could be seen throughout JEFF The Brotherhood’s set on the sides of the stage. Jeff the Brotherhood has adapted nicely to the life of a four piece (not that they needed it). The last time I caught them play Philly they played as a four-piece band also. They were less-then-desirable then and I am guessing that the new layout had yet to be heavily road tested and just sounded sludgy. Fast forward to Saturday night and this newish four piece band hit on all cylinders making that extra-desirable brand of psychedelic rock that made me fall in love with their sound years ago.
Brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall were at the top of their game and the combo of massive drum fills and grandiose guitar riffs blended perfectly with the added bass and guitar. After lashing out on a wicked “Mellow Out” and a slightly evil sounding “Heavy Krishna” the brothers led us through a bunch of covers off of their latest album Dig the Classics including Becks “Totally Confused,” and a shred fest on “Mystery,” a Wipers cover that would have made Greg Sage proud. The homage to The Wipers writhed in heavy tour worn guitar licks and extremely hard slamming beats before the band dug back into their own We Are the Champions album anthem “Ripper.” This once two piece turned four piece is back in a large way and where I thought that Diarrhea Planet would have stolen the show, I was wrong it was Jeff The Brotherhood who were the cherry on the night. It helped to have lots of friends in tow and before the evening had ended a mutual photographer friend of both bands was up on stage chugging whiskey out of a bottle for her birthday before heaving herself into the crowd for what must have been her sixth crowd surf of the night.
The night finished with JEFF The Brotherhood’s drummer Jamin Orrall performing the major feat that is nailing the quintessential drumming dream cover “Working Man” by Rush. Jamin’s take on it turned Neil Peart’s technical proficiency into more of a stripped down punkish take that fit the evening well and ended the show on a high note.