Doc Martens, big glasses and short haircuts predominated at Diet Cig’s January 30th show at The Garrison. First on stage were Lala Lala, punky grunge duo from Chicago, whose grungy growl reverberated into the mic.

As we waited for the next opener, on a high from their energy, my companion and I wondered: “what’s going on between sets? Do the bands know? Does anyone know?”

Before we had too long to consider it, however, The Spook School came on stage. The pop-punk quartet from Glasgow explores gender issues and smashes stereotypes through songs that scream “burn masculinity” and “fuck you, I’m still alive” – which are often catchy, but sometimes felt a bit too on the nose.

Finally, Diet Cig, composed of singer/guitarist Alex Luciano and drummer Noah Bowman, came on stage. For this tour, they’re joined on stage by Anna from Spook School on bass and Karli from Plush on keyboards and vox – but all eyes, as always, were on Alex. She jumped around with seemingly endless energy from the beginning, high-kicking and sauntering her way across the stage.

“Is Drake here?” she asked jokingly before launching into “Sixteen”, the opener of their album. Adorned with glitter, she remained exuberant even through the sadder songs they played. She also reminded the audience that their concerts were a safe space. “We’re gonna get tender for a second, because it’s just as important to get tender as it is to rock out,” she said.

All of their songs revolve around feminism and the need to be accessible to everyone. “It can suck being a marginalized person in a space that doesn’t belong to you,” she said, before thanking women as well as trans and non-binary folk for taking up space in the environment around them.

Finally launching into “Tummy Ache,” before finishing with their biggest hit “Harvard,” the crowd jumped and bopped around, just as energetic as they’d been at the beginning of the night.

Diet Cig Tour Dates (w/ The Spook School, Great Grandpa):

02/01 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
02/02 – Madison, WI @ University of Wisconsin
02/03 – Minneapolis, MN @ University of Minnesota
02/05 – Lawrence, KS @ White Schoolhouse
02/06 – Omaha, NE @ Reverb Lounge
02/07 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge
02/08 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
02/09 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
02/10 – Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt
02/11 – Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
02/12 – Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater
02/14 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
02/15 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst
02/16 – Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room
02/17 – San Diego, CA @ You Are Going To Hate This Fest 3
02/18 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley (w/ Bully)
02/19 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
02/21 – Austin, TX @ The Sidewinder
02/22 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links
02/23 – New Orleans, LA @ Hi Ho Lounge
02/24 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
02/25 – Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight
02/26 – Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre
02/27 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
02/28 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
03/01 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
03/02 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
03/03 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church