Concert Review: Diarrhea Planet, Left and Right, and Pkew Pkew Pkew @ The Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto

On April 1st, The Horseshoe Tavern almost collapsed under the sheer weight of rock and roll, when Diarrhea Planet played with special guests Left and Right and Pkew Pkew Pkew (gunshots).

Pkew’s set started with a hiccup – one of the power bars used by the band had stopped working. It seemed like there was going to be a delay until one heroic concert attendee stuck his head under the stage, found the problem, and fixed it by plugging the power bar back into the electrical outlet. With power restored and a solid round of high fives being given by the band, the show kicked off. The energy was palpable. The band showed off their punk rock chops with songs like Glory Days, a satirical look at people who peaked in high school, full of catchy riffs and back up yelling. The audience, not wanting to be left out, sang along with most of the songs the band played. It was nice to see such a large turnout to support a great local band.

While there were some definite similarities between the bands (guitar riffs and gang vocals were the theme of the night), Left and Right played a well balanced set. With the sound flitting between high energy rock and the occasional slower melodic songs. The latter provided much needed breaks from the growing anarchy in front of the stage and showed off their musicianship and versatility as songwriters. The crowd responded positively, and for the second time in the night proved that you can mix hedonism and altruism. When the drummers floor tom stand slipped, an audience member instantly ran up on stage and fixed it before diving back into the fray.

When I was in high school, I remember being told about a study that was done to try and find out what the most beautiful sounding words in the English language were from the sound alone and without the context of what the words mean. Using a cross section of hundreds of words told to many different linguistic backgrounds, it was found that without context, “Diarrhea” was one of the prettiest sounding words in the English language. I don’t think I would use beautiful to describe Diarrhea Planet as a band; that’s not what the music is about. What it is, is unabashed, balls to the walls, rock and roll.

Diarrhea Planet are known for their chaotic shows and this turned out to be no different. The music was hard and fast from the opening notes, four guitars blaring out in distorted triumph over pumping bass and pounding drums. The crowd, already soaked in alcohol and sweat from the previous sets lost their collective minds. At this point my notebook died in an explosion of ink and torn up pages (with only 2 days left till its retirement). The amount of heat and pressure at the front of the stage was intense, behind us people were hanging from the rafters (literally, one person seemed to be doing gymnastics up there) as security stood at the side of the stage unable to get close enough to do anything about it, even though it was happening only feet away. The band took part in the madness as much as they provided the musical fuel for it, surfing out into the crowd alongside the fans, flailing on stage and generally having the best time possible. As I pushed through the crowd on my way out they played their song Ghost with a Boner as an encore which I could hear even with my ringing ears.

This show was excellent, the line-up was superb with all 3 bands going above and beyond my expectations. I’m not looking forward to the bruises I’m going to have, but if I was asked to do it again tomorrow night I would be there in a heartbeat.

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Review by Tristan Johnston

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