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Diet Cig at SXSW says: tell your crush you like them and kill fascists

Human sparkplug Alex Luciano has a few things to say, and she would like to fire off a few high kicks while she says them. Luciano, who with drummer Noah Bowman makes up New York indie rock duo Diet Cig, thinks big, feels big and rocks big. Though losing her voice after seven South by Southwest week shows, the singer-guitarist-bipedal ion came to Waterloo Records’ free Friday show to “shred on your faces and eat tacos.”

Alex Luciano, of Diet Cig, performs at the She Shreds day party during South by Southwest (SXSW) Tuesday, March. 14, 2017. (Stephen Spillman / for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

It was hard to know where Luciano began and the lightning bolt on her guitar strap ended. She hopped, skipped and jumped while explaining in song that she could be the best if only she wanted to get out of bed. Bowman provided the head-bop-ready punk rhythms, but watching Luciano was like plugging a singalong tape into your VCR and watching the Mickey Mouse head take leap after joyful leap over every word.

After a rollicking “Harvard,”Luciano said, “Excuse my high kick. My pants have been dipping.” She hoped to “channel the grace and style of Lenny Kravitz’s leather-clad” manhood in the case of any wardrobe malfunctions, in reference to the “American Woman” singer’s infamous, accidental genital exposure during a performance.

Joking aside, Diet Cig raised consciousnesses as well as pulses. Luciano reminded the crowd outside the record store that their shows are safe spaces. And after dedicating a number to women and femmefolk, Luciano said “it’s hard living an existence that’s sexualized, no matter what you’re doing.” As she sang right after, it’s hard to be a punk while wearing a skirt.

Diet Cig’s balance of college town romanticism and college town idealism most clearly asserted itself when Luciano said that one song was best for either telling your crush you like them or for killing fascists with love: “Radical softness is one of the most potent tools against oppression.”

Not to make the show sound like a Lyceum. Luciano also got on top of a wheeled speaker and made it take a tumble, then mounted the promotional motorcycle on stage and dealt out some killer guitar licks like the Marlon Brando of SXSW, smiling like a bank robber who’s very good at their job.

Faces were indeed shredded. Hope Diet Cig got those tacos after checking off the first to-do.


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