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For Diaz, heady times are deserved

The Sinclair, Cambridge, Mass., February 29, 2024

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Madi Diaz has enjoyed a heady few weeks. She released her new disc, "Weird Faith," on Anti- earlier in February. She made her second appearance on CBS Saturday Morning for the second time a week later. And she launched her tour in support of the new disc last week.

The headiness ought to continue based on performances like this before a very supportive crowd of about 250.

Diaz isn't an upbeat performer – lyrically that is. She has a lot of depressing songs and readily acknowledged that as well. Life isn't always pretty, of course, and Diaz does not shy away from that factoid.

Proof positive – the closing song of the regular set, "Think of Me," where Diaz sang, "I hope you fuck her with your eyes closed/And think of me/ I hope you love her with the lights low/Oh, and think of me." That ought to make it clear.

But if it didn't, how about "Resentment": "I don't hate you, babe, it's worse than that/'Cause you hurt me and I don't react/I've been building up this thing for months/Oh, resentment." Diaz sings with a sense of pain, sometimes resignation almost.

There were many more examples of relationship angst. But lest you think that this was one downer of an evening, no way.

Diaz changed the tempos and sonics sufficiently throughout the 85-minute show to easily maintain interest and not go down the same well-trodden mopey path. You would not have known that from the lighting though as Diaz was bathed in bluish/purple lighting for almost the entire show as if she were hiding behind it. That was not ideal.

It should be noted that Diaz, who played both acoustic and electric guitar, was only helped out by fellow Berklee College of Music classmate Adam Popick. He mainly was on drums, but also played synthesizer and bass while also lending backing vocals. Between the two of them, there was enough going on musically.

Even more pointedly, Diaz has a keen sense of humor that directly plays off the depressive nature of some of her songs. Diaz sprinkled her comments with just enough jocularity to lighten the load and interacting with the crowd to bring the crowd's spirits up a few notches.

In closing out the night before playing "Weird Faith" solo acoustic, Diaz said in her straightforward honesty, "This whole record was really on the backs of a lot of mantras that I was trying to find for myself. I was trying just not to give up on myself."

Based on the songs and her ability deliver them live, Diaz need not have any doubt on her abilities.

Diaz left the stage to prolonged applause from the enthusiastic, overwhelmingly female audience. She was obviously moved and emotional from the outpouring of support, clutching her chest a few times, shaking her head as if in disbelief and walking away with a wave to the crowd.

No wonder life is heady for Diaz. Deservedly so.

Olivia Barton opened the night with a solo acoustic set. The Floridian has a pretty, soothing voice and was appealing alone for that. However, more than one of her songs was on the lyrically clunky side, detracting from the impact of the material.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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