Greetings again my playful patrons of the pit. It’s spring time in Kansas City, which means unpredictable weather, temperatures that can’t make up their mind, and of course, lots of great music.
This rock n’ roll adventure took us to a new (to me) venue. The Truman is situated in Kansas City’s downtown corridor, and just recently opened in 2017. It can squeeze up to 1400 people in the space. Props to the venue for having adequate bathrooms and bars. I know we have all had to suffer in long lines for both, but at the Truman, that doesn’t seem to be an issue. The layout of the venue is great; the main hall is open, with bar style seating in the back, and plenty of access to the stage up front. The smoking patio is spacious and easy to get to, and the bar-staff is top notch. Based on this concert alone, I would very quickly call the Truman one of my absolute favorite venues in Kansas City. Can’t wait to see another show here.
Opening the show was Diarrhea Planet. While living on a planet of diarrhea might be the worst thing imaginable, Diarrhea Planet brings a spaceship full of fun to the stage. This six-piece band from Nashville, Tennessee formed in 2009. On stage, they bring 4 guitarists, a bassist, and a drummer. The guitarists are Evan Bird, Jordan Smith, Emmett Miller, and Brent Toler (Brent, Evan, and Emmett all share vocal duties) Rounding out the band is bassist Mike Boyle, and drummer Ian bush.
The dudes of DP started the set with “Lite Dream” from “I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams”. The groups alternating singing and solo’-ng styles really kept the set fresh and full of energy. The band is certainly has their own unique sound, but elements of their sound sometimes have a 90’s grunge and pop mixed with heavy metal feel to them. Other songs have elements of 2000’s punk and garage rock, while other more melodic songs sound inspired by jazz rock bands like Minus the Bear. “Bob Dylan’s Grandma” was a catchy, mid-set sensation. At this point in the set, it feels like I’m getting to know the band just by their banter and playing styles alone. I feel like the band has the enthusiasm of a bunch of really good friends playing on stage all for the first time. DP closed out their set with “Emmett’s Vision”
A few thoughts about Diarrhea Planet – I still don’t know how to spell diarrhea, and now my Google search history is going to be a little weird. For being a larger sized band, DP still lets each and every member shine through, even with having 4 guitar players. Apart from the wild guitar solos, both the bass player and drummer are also quite skilled at their instruments. The sharing of vocal responsibilities among 3 of the members makes their music varied, and full of energy. I wouldn’t sleep on this band at all, and there is a huge chance I will be at the next show when they come through town, I might just have to shower a little longer the next day.
Milling about the crowd during the break, I spoke to a number of people who had travelled from states away to see this show (on a Sunday no less) The Darkness was a huge draw to these people, many who have been fans since they first arrived on the scene with their smash hit “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” from 2003.
Formed in 2000, The Darkness is brothers Just and Dan Hawkins on guitar and vocals, Frankie Poullain on bass, and Rufus “Tiger” Taylor on drums. The band hails from Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, and gained huge popularity in 2003 with their debut album “Permission to Land”. After taking a 6 year hiatus, the original band got back together in 2011, and have been hitting it hard ever since. The Darkness brings an English Glam Metal aesthetic and sound, without being overbearing or jokey.
The band opened up the 17 song setlist with “Open Fire’ from their 2015 album “The Last of Our Kind”. The Darkness certainly knows how to dazzle the crowd – the entire band is dressed in various form of rock-star garb, from Justin’s scandalous leopard onesie, to bassist Frankie Poullian’s groovy yellow suit. But if you’re going to dress the part, you’ll need to be able to bring the noise – any The Darkness definitely brought it. In addition to the hilarious on-stage banter, the Darkness redefines hard-rock, with Hawkins signature falsetto voice, and the bands monstrous guitar solos.
The Darkness was here to please every town on their tour, and Kansas City was no exception. After a 2-song encore, their last song “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” had the whole venue movin’ and groovin’. Not content to be known for just a few songs, The Darkness proved to Kansas City that glam isn’t dead.
The Darkness prances their way through the rest of North America through May on their Tour De Prance tour. Be sure to check them out if your city is on their prance radar. And if you’re ever in KC, be sure to give The Truman a visit. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Words by Dallas Hessel
Photos by Josh Chaikin