by Carmelo Martinez

Planes Mistaken For Stars Sun May 25

Solid State

Planes Mistaken For Stars have spent the last half-dozen years making a fine art out of fucking shit up. While it's par for the punk rock course to live a little bit on the wild side, the Denver quartet simply has no other option. Longtime purveyors of blue-class hardcore, PMFS are the protesters without the Political Science degree, the musicians without the classical training, or just four individuals who never had much of a choice. Like the fabled Springsteen song where dead-end factory life and rock n' roll are life's only two options--PMFS live it, but dirtier.

Recently, their sound has become more streamlined and concise, but PMFS still strays far from the polish many newer hardcore bands have undertaken. As vocalist/guitarist Gared O'Donnell puts it, "The last thing we want to do is sound like we're plugging our guitars straight into ProTools." And, though the phrase "Planes Mistaken for Stars" is more emo than a crying boy in a sweater holding a kitten, the band has dropped the sentiment in favor of a more aggressive, darker sound. Their early material, for mega-emo label Deep Elm, was unapologetically emotional, raw music that ran the typical emo gamut from broken heart to broken home. Now, "[Our anger is] a studied disgust. You can only expel your demons for so long," says O'Donnell.

The band's intense live show is an unholy mess of flailing limbs, sporadic nudity, and enough feedback and raw noise to beckon a soft trickle of blood from your once-working ears. While nothing about a live PMFS show is contrived, it's apparent the band has performances down to an art form; they've been able to take the feeling of playing every show like it's their last and make it a nightly event. While PMFS has garnered a reputation for stripping down to nothing during the shows, O' Donnell swears it's not a planned act. "It has more to do with how hot a room is and how receptive a crowd is," he explains. "It's not like a gimmick or something we'll do because people expect it. We freak out, we get naked; it's as simple as that."