Cliffdiver played in support of Lilac Kings on New Year’s Eve after Ben Quad, All For More, and Over Cast.
I’ve seen Cliffdiver perform before – back in October, at their Small Hours EP release show. They blew me away with their music then, making me a huge fan from the first song.
This time, however, felt different.
Three bands had already performed by the time this large group made their way on stage. During the earlier sets, people had milled around the venue, spread out, unevenly distributed. There was some moshing, especially during Over Cast, and the energy was vibrant, for sure, but the audience just hadn’t connected like I’ve seen at other shows.
Something changed when Cliffdiver began their set, though. It was like the whole crowd woke up. Everyone rushed to the front, gathering in front of the stage.
The first song was “Why Wouldn’t I Wear a Windbreaker?” Listening to the song, it doesn’t sound like you would mosh to it, but the crowd had a different thought. Not halfway through this first track, a group began pushing, jumping – roughhousing in the middle of the “pit”.
It was invigorating, watching this happen. Just the crowd alone was enough to get hyped. The band obviously fed off this energy, throwing their own dance moves and jumps into the mix. Everyone was moving, shadows in the bright lights.
If you’ve never seen or heard Cliffdiver, you should probably know that they are a six piece band with a saxophone player that plays shirtless and sings backup.
This part is important because when they played their next song, “Teaching a Narwhal Empathy,” the saxophone solo just about killed everyone in the room. It’s a piece best heard with your eyes closed; only then can you let it wash over you as you sway along.
The thing about Cliffdiver is, they have this sense of humor that shows in both their performances and their music. The facial expressions, the dedication of their song (Satan Parked My Car) to one of the guys from Over Cast, the song titles, and the songs themselves show their inherent silliness.
Their lyrics use light metaphors to convey darker themes that just about everyone can relate to – and everyone did relate to them at the show. When the part in “You Sir, Are Obviously Not a Golfer” where the lyrics scream “I’m not scared of dying/just scared of your dad/what a scary man,” the whole room joined in.
Before playing that song, they announced that the music video would be made during the first weekend of February – after joking that this song had been streamed way too many times.
Apparently, it was a night of new information because a new song was also premiered right after. Written about a breakdown and telling the story of seeing an ex at a party while drunk, the song is dubbed “Are You Still Seeing My Orthodontist, Greg?”
When the part where the vocalist shouts, “Everything is alright,” came up, the moshing began for this song. The crowd went nuts over it, feeding off of the pain.
Then came an act of vulnerability that revealed a window looking into the true meaning of their music. Staring out into the crowd without really focusing on anyone, the vocalist began a soliloquy. He spoke about blaming everything on someone else – knowing that it was his fault, but not being able to handle the admission or the change that would have to happen if he did fess up.
As he confessed, the rest of the band continued the song, scoring his monologue. Once the heaviness had made its mark, the music picked up in speed. The band jumped and danced, ending their set on a high note.
Cliffdiver has a presence. They connect with everyone in the audience; you can literally see it happening. The metaphors in their lyrics are meant to be shouted. The instrumentals were meant to be danced to, jumped to, swayed to.
Make sure to follow Cliffdiver on all social media and music streaming sites. Their EP, Small Hours, is available everywhere for listening and download.