Satiate the slop-pop appetite with a 'Diet Cig'
“Let’s start this off with a tender one,” said Alex Luciano, lead singer and guitarist of self-proclaimed slop-pop band Diet Cig, at their concert on Friday, March 1. She then proceeded to strum the opening chords to “Sixteen,” a track centered on turbulent adolescence from Diet Cig’s 2017 release, “Swear I’m Good At This.”
Luciano formed the indie outfit with drummer Noah Bowman in 2014 after meeting in New Paltz, New York.
“Elsewhere,” the venue that hosted Diet Cig is a 24,000 square foot former warehouse that has since been converted to host shows and a variety of events, opening on Halloween in 2017. Located in Bushwick, Brooklyn, it was the home for Diet Cig’s sold-out stop on their 2018 tour. Complete with disco balls, neon strobe lights reminiscent of the 1980s and a geometric backdrop, Elsewhere’s atmosphere set the mood for a night of artistic expression.
The night began with Scottish indie-pop four-piece The Spook School and Seattle alt-pop quintet Great Grandpa emulating various genres while stimulating the crowd before the main act took the stage.
“Brooklyn! It’s great to be here,” Luciano said, about to play tracks from Diet Cig’s well-received recent album. Singing into a microphone adorned with flower petals and twirling across a stage lit by a flashy disco ball, front woman Luciano led many fan favorites to much applause. With a set-list comprised of many songs from their latest release, Diet Cig performed punk-esque tunes “Maid of the Mist,” “Barf Day,” “Bite Back” and “Tummy Ache.” From their 2015 EP “Overeasy,” the tracks “Breathless” and “Scene Sick” were included as well.
“Raise your hand if you’re over 18,” Luciano said, with her arms outstretched to the crowd halfway through the set and a plethora of arms rose. “Now raise your hand if you’re registered to vote!” Luciano smiled at the amount of hands that remained in the air. Never one to shy away from her platform, Luciano demonstrated the importance of political consciousness, especially in indie music and artistic communities, often engaging in questioning and answering with crowd members.
Dedicating many of Diet Cig’s songs to women of color, marginalized groups and those she deemed oppressed, Luciano kept the audience blissfully enthralled with many inspirational quotes and visibly passionate renditions of the songs they knew so well.
“Repeat after me,” Luciano said to the sold-out Brooklyn club, “I won’t water myself down for anyone else!” Her and Bowman shared a mutual smile and began the track, “Link in Bio,” written about self-perception and identity. Luciano commonly prefaces the song with a spoken introduction regarding societal struggles of transgender, non-binary and queer individuals.
Wrapping up the set with their most recognized track, “Harvard,” Diet Cig’s fans sang along and caught Luciano as she crowd surfed her way through the venue. Inviting all previous opening acts onstage, Diet Cig performed their last song of the night, a cover of Semisonic’s “Closing Time,” as Luciano was carried off the stage by several friends. Encapsulating the essence of her artistry, Luciano’s words echoed through the former warehouse, “No matter who you are,” she said with a smile, “this music is for you.”