Listening to Cigarettes After Sex is kind of like dreaming. So it only makes sense that the best description I have for being at one of their gigs, is that it’s kind of like being in a lucid dream.
The band took the stage at 8pm, suitably early for a group who produce music that fans proclaim to use as sleep therapy. There is no need to stay up late tonight, everyone is here simply to chill out and listen to the musical art that is Cigarettes After Sex.
The band drift onto the stage. Drift is the only word for how it looks when they arrive, in a cloud of smoke with dim lighting. Behind them is a screen playing noir videos of 60’s-looking women crying.
The whole ordeal is extremely ethereal and dream like.
There is something incredibly calming about being at a gig where everybody feels comfortable enough to just stand, or even sit, and listen.
No pushing, no shoving, just appreciation for the melancholy instruments and Greg Gonzalez soothing voice.
While the most activity that takes place in the room at any time is the swift swaying during the band’s most recent track Sweet, this does not mean that the fans aren’t crazy about the band.
Quite the opposite.
For a few of the tracks, such as the emotional anthem that is K, I look around at the people surrounding me, and it is quite obvious from the look on the audience’s faces that they are simply taking it all in.
Their idol is in front of them, the song sounds as perfect and dreamy as it does on the album. It is rather perfect.
While the songs play, everybody is in a daze. Hypnotised by the sounds coming from the stage. Broken out only to applaud gratefully until the next song plays.
While Greg doesn’t say much in between the tracks, simply stopping to thank us all for being there (as if it isn’t our pleasure.) He doesn’t have to speak to connect with the crowd. His revealing, transparent lyrics say enough.
When Greg sings the line “And it’s just as good as I knew it would be, stay with me I don’t want you to leave” it is hard not to feel his emotion. It’s as if we know his story already.
The show has an intimate feel, which is strange as the Ritz is near-full.
In the smoke and spotlights, the band all look remotely like angels, if angels played instruments in front of large crowds of people. It feels safe, as though they’re looking out for you.
This warm, safe feeling reaches it’s peak as the band break into Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby.
While the words “Nothing’s gonna hurt you baby, as long as you’re with me you’ll be just fine” wash over the crowd, it’s not hard to believe that we are as safe as we have ever been, here in this room.
The climax of the set Dreaming of You is the perfect, beautiful send off to a hazy show.
When the band leaves the stage at just after nine with the lyrics “And now I’m dreaming of you” still swimming in their mind, it is safe to say that everyone will be dreaming of this gig tonight.
Listen to Cigarettes After Sex here:
Featured Image: Michael T. Wilcox