Bully and Diet Cig Shred at The Parish: Live Review

Diet_Cig_Portrait-160It has been a little over a week since Bully and Diet Cig careened through Austin to issue blistering sets of garage rock on the Parish, and the mere memory of the show is still exciting. Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman, collectively known as Diet Cig, ducked off of 6th St. and started up the stairwell to The Parish’s second-floor room when they bumped into me. I had arranged to shoot a portrait of the duo pre-show, so the three of us headed into the venue to take a few quick photos before another scheduled interview. From the moment I turned the camera on, Luciano and Bowman cut loose with crazy poses and playful antics. Maybe the two were riding a sugar high from the doughnuts they’d just scarfed next door at Voodoo, but I’ve never seen anyone be quite so relaxed and carefree in front of a camera. I had to ask them to take at least one serious shot.

Diet_Cig_020416-3Diet Cig translates that same rock ‘n’ roll fun to their live set as Luciano bounces around the stage with abandon, delivering high kicks and belting out lyrics over garage pop guitar riffs. Between songs, Luciano bantered easily with the crowd, talking in hyper, sprawling sentences like the band was kicking out late nite jams at a college house party. Their show easily surpassed any expectation, and it appears the trajectory of their career angles ever upward in the coming months, as the duo will return for SXSW and again soon after to support The Front Bottoms in late April. You’ll have several opportunities to see them again — take one. Hell, take two or three.

Bully_020416-5Bully’s headlining set proved arresting via an entirely different approach. Rather than rely on levity and upbeat garage rock, Bully commands the stage with aggressive, crunchy rock riffs, as their name might imply. The band has the ability to stretch from accessible, melodic tunes to unhinged screaming as they move between songs that incorporate 90s buzz and contemporary garage pop sensibilities. At the helm, Alicia Bognanno manages to exude nonchalant composure while shredding through punishing rock ‘n’ roll. Bully is stern and powerful, and it’s no surprise the group has garnered wide praise upon the release of their first LP. We will be keeping an ear out for what’s next.

Check out photos, including additional portraits of Diet Cig below. All images © Bryan C. Parker & Pop Press International; all rights reserved. Click any image to open set in slideshow viewer.

About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and recently released his first book, a volume on Beat Happening in the 33 1/3 series.

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