Four-piece indie rockers The Dig left New York for Highland Park this year and Friday they were excited to officially be playing their first hometown show. They quickly found comfort in the East LA neighborhood and that comfort translated on stage at the Moroccan Lounge.
The Dig released a pair of EPs this year that combined to be a pretty rad record. The band pulled songs from the guitar-driven Moonlight Baby and synth-heavy Afternoon With Caroline. They also played old favorites spanning as far back as 2013’s Midnight Flowers.
Dual vocalists Emile Mosseri and David Baldwin give the band a unique sound. That was on display as the two took turns singing the hooks and playing backup vocalist to one another. There’s another band that does this at a similarly high level — Portugal. The Man. It’s not hard to see The Dig graduating to the level Portugal. The Man has reached at some point in the near future. And it’s no surprise that the two were tour mates and Portugal frontman John Gourley had nothing but ace things to say in my feature on The Dig.
“They need to be the new wrecking crew,” Gourley told me in a Twitter DM. “Nothing they can’t do. Incredible talent across the board. Not a weak link in the bunch.”
Those comments were only amplified seeing them play live Friday night. Guitarist Erick Eiser and drummer Mark Demiglio round out the band, and there is a ton of depth to what they do. Eiser alternated between keys and guitar, sometimes swinging the axe across his back while jamming on keys.
Their hit “I Already Forgot Everything You Said” was the big singalong of the night. The song soundtracked Pete Holmes having sex in the season two premiere of HBO’s Crashing this year. The song was many — including my own — introduction to the band. There’s a softness to the instrumentation that contrasts beautifully with the harshness of the lyrics. It has a Radiohead quality in the way it is haunting.
This was the first time many of the songs from the two EPs have been played live. “Moonlight Baby” was maybe my favorite of the five songs they played. The song showcased their confidence singing falsetto. Baldwin sang lead vocals on the verses with Mosseri taking over in the last verse and powerhouse outro. Eiser preceded that last verse with an epic keyboard line. “It was you, it was always you / Everybody has a light, everybody has a light,” Mosseri sang like a late-’90s era Bono with the crowd clapping along.
Their encore featured another favorite “Cold Afternoon”. Baldwin handles lead vocals on that one and it’s a bit of a slow-burner that builds wonderfully. I looked around and saw many people swaying to the tune with their eyes closed, entranced.
I’m hopeful that the band’s move to LA from New York will mean more opportunities for them. They’re hitting their songwriting stride at just the right time. Like I said, I wouldn’t be shocked if they had a Portugal. The Man sized breakout in them somewhere. They’re working on new material with an album planned for 2019 and timing is everything. In the meantime, can Desert Daze book these guys for next year? That would be a helluva fit.