Cigarettes After Sex
January 29th, 2017 at Great Scott
By: Ingrid Angulo & Tanvi Sehgal
Opener, Libsyd Read, began the night–gently flowing into Cigarettes After Sex’s eclectic set with his atmospheric, relaxing sound. His voice softly crooned over an electronic groove and his slow, repetitive beats combined with his silky voice created a therapeutic sound. However, his initial charm faded throughout the set as each song meshed together and became impossible to differentiate. His inanimate performance left the audience looking bored. People checked their phones and turned to have conversations with the people around them instead of paying attention to what was happening onstage. The music itself had some positive, entrancing qualities, but overall it wasn’t executed well for a live audience.
Cigarettes After Sex, following their major success in Europe, branched out to the US on their first North American tour. The Great Scott was the perfect setting for their mellow, ambient music. Dressed in all black, Greg Gonzalez on vocals and guitar, Phillip Tubbs on keyboard, Randy Miller on bass, and Jacob Tomsky on drums took to a dimly lit stage with their romantic, soothing dream pop. They started their set with an 80s slow jam, an almost unrecognizable cover of “Starry Eyes” by Roky Erickson. They took an upbeat rock song and transformed it into their own signature style of hazy, emotional love songs. The crowd gently sang along, complementing but not overpowering Cigarettes. With a new album scheduled to drop in June, they gave the audience a taste of what’s to come with a few new songs. The two high points of the set were their barely recognizable cover of the REO Speedwagon’s, “Keep on Loving You”, and a beautiful rendition of their most popular song (with nearly six million plays on Spotify), “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby,” which closed the set.
Once their performance and encore ended, the band stayed around to get to know the fans who’d come out for the show. Instead of just signing autographs and taking pictures, they spent the night having real conversations with their fans over some drinks. It was refreshing to see a group that was so down-to-earth. Even without the band members present, Cigarettes After Sex’s ethereal sound and sentimental lyrics are perfect for a chill night with a bottle of wine.