Planes Mistaken for Stars reunion show in D.C. proves band has plenty to still offer

August 13, 2012|By Jake Fewster | Midnight Sun contributor

Recently reunited band Planes Mistaken for Stars played Red Palace in Washignton on Saturday night. Intern Jake Fewster had this report:

For some, the idea of a reunion show conjures up images of a geriatric, arena rock band way past their prime.

This was not at all the case on Saturday night when Planes Mistaken For Stars took the stage at the Red Palace in Washington D.C. Far from geriatric and even further from arena rock, Planes performed a masterful set that left my ears ringing, in the best way possible, late into Sunday night.

After disbanding in 2008, Planes announced an East Coast reunion tour earlier this summer beginning in Chicago and ending in Peoria, Ill. where the band was formed in 1997. Their stop in D.C. was near the end of the tour and the band clearly enjoyed the crowd’s enthusiasm as much as the crowd enjoyed their presence on the small venue’s stage.

The band’s musical style blends punk rock and hardcore; fans of either genre will find plenty to like. Panicking octaves climbed the necks of both guitars and mixed with the shaking bottom end of palm muted power chords. All the while, melodic notes and vocal lines accompanied the mix and the combination came through the PA so distinctly that it put any other band I have seen in this genre to shame. The band was tight, and Gared O’Donnell’s distinct, raspy vocals sounded just like the recorded version.

Despite jokes about the band's old age, O’Donnell ripped through a set that included songs from each of the band’s albums.

“We’ve only done this once in like six years,” said O’Donnell before playing “Sicilian Smile” from the band’s second album. The song was spot on and it clearly didn’t matter how long it had been.

The set list was heavy on the band’s most recent full lengths “Up in Them Guts” and “Mercy,” but they played as far back as their self-titled album released in 1998.

They had just played “End Me in Richmond” — an incredibly fast-paced song with a heavy ending also from the band's second album — when O’Donnell recognized the crowd’s response and announced “Here’s an even older one.” 

“Are you ready old man?” said O’Donnell to guitarist Chuck French before playing fan-favorite “Copper and Stars.” The crowd erupted in excitement and waited for the build up before shouting out the title in unison.

When the show ended, the crowd clapped to induce an encore. O’Donnell said it was against policy to play any longer but the band did one more anyway.

Jake Fewster is an intern at the Baltimore Sun. He last reviewed the Gaslight Anthem at U Street Music Hall. Wesley Case edited this post.

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