Diet Cig The Drake Hotel, Toronto ON, September 26

Diet Cig The Drake Hotel, Toronto ON, September 26
Photo: Shane Parent
For a tiny-in-stature team of two, Diet Cig make a big impact. Playing their first Toronto show at the Drake Hotel on Monday night (September 26), the New Paltz, NY pair of Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman proved that the quantity of band members is totally incidental when it comes to quality of showmanship and sweet tunes.
And although the duo have only released a five-song EP (last year's Over Easy) and a single ("Sleep Talk"/"Dinner Date") to date, the few songs they did come armed with proved explosive in the intimate venue.
Luciano switched between cooing and screeching endearingly bratty lyrics into the mic, while shredding her guitars (one of which suffered a string break that caused Luciano to deem the small room "haunted"), as Bowman held down furiously bouncy beats behind his kit. He may have been restricted to a seated position, but Luciano more than made up for her counterpart's lack of motion, hopping around to fill the stage as if it were a trampoline with her legs high-kicking in every direction. Gloriously unafraid to goof around, her energy was infectious.
Odes to shitty, overpriced apartments and independence ("Breathless") and declarations to ditch inhibitions and dance ("Scene Sick") stood out on Over Easy and proved particularly fun onstage, as well.
There were also some promising new cuts, the most memorable of which was one that detailed a 16-year-old Luciano dating a dude with the same first name (making for some awkward pillow talk in the back of his truck), and another one about the loneliness of being your own best friend (and celebrating your birthday with a lot of ice cream).
The indisputable highlight, rightly saved for last, was "Harvard," with its scathing, accusatory queries of "Does it feel better in that cold Boston weather?" and begging-to-be-shouted refrain of "Fuck your Ivy League sweater!" accompanied by Luciano leaping atop amps, speakers, Bowman's drumkit and even off the stage and into the crowd — emphatically earning New Paltz (home to the State University of New York) an advantage over the Crimson-clad Cambridge, MA crowd.
Diet Cig showed signs of becoming a live force to be reckoned with, and as their catalogue of songs continues to grow, their star should only shine brighter. There's still an unrefined air about the band, but it's those rough edges and unbridled bursts of energy that make them so exciting to watch right now.