More than any other month, January is reserved for the discovery of new music. While Diet Cig have spent the past eleven months making a name for themselves with seven songs of refreshing honesty and simple charm, this is their first trip to the UK. Tonight at The Lexington, the third of three sold out shows in the capital, that distant intrigue becomes full-bodied admiration.
It’s a more tentative start for Saltwater Sun who strike a balance between The Cure at their most energetic and The Vaccines at their darkest. The band toy with temperament and texture and with the melancholic waves of ‘Habit On My Mind’ giving way to a thrashing breakdown that keeps on rolling.
After the insular sway of Saltwater Sun, the big, brash attack of INHEAVEN seems even bolder. Swapping bewitching poetry for scrawled declarations of intent, the band are in your face from the get go. With more than just a hint of the giants of British Rock – Kasabian, Sterophonics, Oasis – InHeaven mix swagger with the ability to write instantaneous anthems and cut it with a knowing look.
The crowd still aren’t warmed up enough for the likes of Alex Luciano though, who stays on stage after Diet Cig’s soundcheck encouraging the crowd to stretch before their set kicks in. And kick it does. Her leader of the pack mentality sees her bounding about the stage at every opportunity while drummer Noah Bowman keeps the engine running, smiling as his best friend sees just how far she can push it.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent months waiting for tonight or if this is first contact, there’s a warmth to the band that’s instant and overwhelming. Their songs, melodic and to-the point, rage with new freedoms as the pair have the best time on stage. There’s a similar scene off it, as well.
Wide-eyed, Alex’s gaze darts around the room trying to capture every moment before meeting Noah’s and exchanging beaming smiles. A year on the road has honed Diet Cig, shaping the likes of ‘Dinner Date’ and ‘Scene Sick’ into rugged hunks of bubbling potential energy while the trio of new songs show off a more unified, confident and cohesive band. “This is a song from our highly anticipated debut album,” starts Alex with tongue firmly in cheek. “Anticipated by me, anyway,” she continues before an excited member of the audience asks when it’s out. Without missing a beat she burps into the microphone, looks unimpressed for a split second before cracking up, apologising profusely for being gross and promises she’d tell her mom later.
Effortlessly cool one moment, resiliently goofy the next, it doesn’t matter how accomplished Diet Cig get they just can’t escape the utter joy they live by. It’s a joy that’s shared by everyone in the room as tonight, both band and audience discovers exactly what Diet Cig are capable of.