Diet Cig played at Off Broadway Tuesday night, creating one of the most amazing shows I've ever had the pleasure of attending. A bubbly and punk duo from the north of New York, Diet Cig was formed in 2014 after singer Alex Luciano interrupted the set of drummer Noah Bowman to ask for a lighter. Four years on, Diet Cig released two EPs and one studio album to become one of the most intriguing and unique bands in the independent music scene.
The evening opened with the soft and dreamy melodies of Illuminati Hotties, set in Los Angeles, which merged into heavier traffic jams, like a garage. Perhaps the best pioneer I've ever seen, Illuminati Hotties played with enthusiasm and character, singing songs about wanting to keep the dogs of their ex-lovers. It was clear that the whole band was having a lot of fun: the drummer wore sunglasses all the time, and every member of the band was dancing and playing with his whole body. The singer suddenly said, "This is the part of the set where I change guitars," and the rest of the band blew into a bright, buzzing melody as the singer danced and changed instruments. The Illuminati Hotties Bandcamp makes the group "tender", emblematic of the show as a whole.
The Diet Cig instruments amplified the eccentric and extravagant group atmosphere: a keyboard decorated with fake flowers, rubber ducks on the drums and a plethora of shiny stickers on Luciano's guitar.
Before his set started, Luciano announced that the Diet Cig table had a laptop for online voter registration, combining my two favorite things around the world: indie music and democratic access. "We are going out, so we will all register to vote," Luciano said. "It will be fantastic, we will do a few changes together."
Luciano wore big cherry earrings and a brilliant spray of glitter on the cheekbones. He explained that a torn ACL kept her from dancing as she normally did, but she did not seem to hold her much; he spent guitar solos whirling and jumping on stage, smiling fiercely all the time. On several occasions she jumped in the audience to dance with us.
Diet Cig's music is both exultant and provocative. Luciano's vibrant voices are at the center of every song, with simple guitar riffs and precise Bowman percussion that complete the band's smooth and gritty sound. The work of Diet Cig explores the different emotions that accompany the different ages; their music touches the ennui and the pain of adult life and the innocence of adolescence. Some of their songs mock the eliteism of the Ivy League, while others are seeking refuge from the assault of adult responsibilities in an ice cream bowl. Yet there is an innate compassion in their music, a recognition and appreciation of what makes us human.
This compassion was further embodied in the speeches that Luciano would have given between the songs. He said: "We'll be soft again, OK?" And he talked for a long time about the full moon of Aries, the positivity of the body and the sex appeal of the Midwest diet ("I feel like everyone in the Midwest was super-hot, because all of you guys eat beer and corn") . He asked if any of us had a crush on the public and declared 2018 as the year of Platonic intimacy, telling us that we should be physically and emotionally vulnerable with our friends. He made us all swear loudly that we would not be watered by others, and he told us sincerely: "Your art matters and your voice is important".
In addition, Luciano especially thanked women and people who were trans, non-binary and LGBTQIA * to assist and occupy space on the show. I'm talking about a great game, or a great game, I imagine inclusiveness and progressiveness in the do-it-yourself music scene, but Diet Cig are active and allied proponents, creating and supporting spaces where marginalized groups can find an outlet for creativity ( "safer spaces", he called them Luciano).
The Diet Cig show also had one of the most interesting spectators I've seen for a while. they were high school students with shaved and dyed hair, parents who were probably thirty years old and even some sexagenarians. Although unusual, it was not unpleasant to see older people from university students in an independent show; a space for all ages means all ages. In addition, it speaks of the broad appeal and inclusiveness of Diet Cig which shows that people aged 16 or 60 feel equally impressed by music and dance.
When the set ended and "Cha-Cha Slide" sounded over the speakers, Luciano and Bowman rushed back onto the stage, coordinating the dance with members of the audience. For a brief, brilliant moment in time, Diet Cig made us slide to the left, sliding to the right, opening our hearts, feeling tender and vulnerable and registering to vote on top of everything.