Have you ever felt like you were floating, like your head was so light that it might not even be on your body anymore? If your answer is yes, then maybe you’ve been to a Cigarettes After Sex concert, or maybe you just have an iron deficiency. For the sake of this article, I’ll assume the former.
On Thursday night I waited in a line of eager fans, who were all conveniently dressed in
black from head to toe, outside of Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin. The line
stretched around the building and backed up precariously close to the highway. As soon as the doors opened at 7 we quickly flooded into the venue and waited for the three-member band to take the stage.
As the sun set and 8 pm approached, the anticipation in the crowd became almost palpable. Smoke filled the stage and the band’s frontman, Greg Gonzalaz, took to the center. His dream-like voice drifted through the crowd as he began to sing “Affection,” the song that launched the band into the mainstream media.
The setlist followed most of the band’s more popular songs, and the crowd’s excitement never dimmed. As the delicate chords of “Heavenly” began to play and a series of minimalistic background photos fluttered behind the band, there was a sense of awe throughout the crowd. The sound of Cigarettes After Sex is not a flamboyant one. Their songs are not those that you can headbang or jump to, yet their concert was still one of the most exciting live shows I’ve been to.
The band closed with “Apocalypse,” taking a brief pause before resuming the chorus for the final time as the stage lights illuminated a giant disco ball that splayed flecks of shimmering light throughout the venue. The band left the stage as the crowd roared with applause and thanks, but the show wasn’t over yet. Throughout the crowd, there was an amicable feeling that something was missing. A chant began, asking the band for three more songs. To the crowd’s delight, the band returned to play “John Wayne”, and “Crush” ending the show in a haze of smoke and soft melodies.
Simply put, the show was absolutely amazing. The pace of the setlist was perfect, and
hearing the band play live was a cathartic experience. The band sounds so alike to their studio-recorded albums, and their talent is undeniable. Their backdrops were simple and the stage had no props because all the band needed was their passionate lyrics and slow, enigmatic sound to keep a crowd entertained.