October 5, 2015

That Was The Show That Was: Ought, LVL UP, Diet Cig | Great Scott, Boston | 30 Sept.

That Was The Show That Was: Ought, LVL UP, Diet Cig | Great Scott, Boston | 30 Sept.

[PHOTO: Diet Cig by Dillon Riley, from the band's June 1 show] Despite its relative infancy, New Paltz, NY indie pair Diet Cig has rapidly established a singular and appealing voice across two short releases. Most importantly though, the band fronted by singer/guitarist Alex Luciano is a formidable, can't-miss live act. And so we were again pleased to catch Diet Cig -- fresh off playing on a totes sick bill in Philly the night before -- open a similarly loaded bill last week at Great Scott in Allston Rock City. While the quick-hit narratives of the duo's debut Over Easy EP still shine brightly, its recent 7" Sleep Talk seems to bring the best out of the group on stage. Indeed, with its hefty and insistent backbeat, "Dinner Date" is becoming the group's sonic calling card, and Luciano clearly takes great pride in belting its cleverly frank opening salvo. For now, however, the duo closes their Boston gigs with "Harvard," a funny kiss-off that brilliantly skewers Ivy League pretension. During its noisy, crashing outro, Ms. Luciano jumped into the crowd and ran the song’s strummy cadence into the ground before collapsing on stage in a huff. Indeed, throughout the evening Luciano was the consummate fronter, broadly roaming the stage, gleefully perching atop monitors and amps, and letting rip with sharp bursts of shrill feedback. It was quite a show, which is ultimately what is going to net Diet Cig new fans, although weird, incidental TV exposure can't hurt, either.

Hotly tipped Candian post-punk quartet Ought headlined Wednesday, and unleashed a shit-hot passel of tunes from its three Constellation Records releases, including its recent winning long-player Sun Coming Down. The Talking Heads comparisons that chase the Montréal-based band feel even more apt based on the quartet's bracing live show, wherein fronter Tim Darcy's slow-fizzing, nervy energy is especially appealing. The near-psychotic water cooler talk of the mesmerizing recent single "Beautiful Blue Sky" achieves surreal effect on stage; here Darcy's controlled and repeated cadence first complements, then stands in stark relief against, the band's noisy swell. For its encore, Ought were joined by a guest guitarist, a presumed band affiliate, to run through the anxious epic "New Calm Pt. 2," a highlight from the band's 2014 EP Once More With Feeling. The extra manpower freed Darcy for important activities such as running in place and gliding around the stage like a carnival barker declaiming the song's manic lyrics as crowd instruction. It was a great performance from a band that -- in spite of massive acclaim -- succeeds brilliantly by continuing to run with its weirdest impulses.

New York indie rock heroes LVL UP were sandwiched second on the bill and teased some exciting new material during a set that also featured tunes from the New York foursome's still-great second LP Hoodwink'd. Color us intrigued. LVL UP and Ought are rocking Philadelphia tonight, and then play two additional shows together before their time together elapses; LVL UP then tour back east, rounding out it remaining strand of dates with a show in New Haven at BAR Oct. 14. -- Dillon Riley

Ought: Facebook | Internerdz
LVL UP: Bandcamp | Facebook
Diet Cig: Bandcamp | Facebook

Related Coverage:
That Was The Show That Was: Basement, Adventures, LVL UP, Palehound | Royale, Boston | 16 Aug.
That Was The Show That Was: Diet Cig and PWR BTTM | Red Room at Cafe 939 | 1st June
Today's Hotness: Diet Cig
Today's Hotness: LVL UP

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