Author: David Heinrich
Last Saturday, I enjoyed an evening with Cigarettes After Sex. The critically acclaimed Brooklyn-based ambient pop group brought their tour to Madison, thankfully. The quartet were the only act of the evening, choosing to play with no opener. The lights began to dim just before 9:30, and soon we were taken into a cloudy dream-state like no other.
Cigarettes After Sex played most of the material they had from their 2017 self-titled release Cigarettes After Sex, and they also threw in a few of the singles from earlier in their career. They opened with one of my favorite tracks of theirs, “Each Time You Fall In Love”. The song is melancholic but beautiful, as lead singer Greg Gonzalez softly croons about pain and memories of past relationships. It’s all about falling in love and the hurt that usually follows. They played other wistful and romantic cuts like “Young & Dumb”, “Sweet” and “Affection” later on, as love and loss was a major theme across the night. This subject matter combined with their ethereal and ghostly instrumentation really put me in my feels. It’s easy to contemplate and reflect while listening to this band, swaying slowly in the darkness.
The conclusion of the show came all too shortly after that. The band played 12 tracks and one song for the encore, but the slow and trance-like nature of the songs made it feel like we spent an eternity with the band. The conclusion came with two crowd favorite songs (though every single track garnered a huge reaction from the packed house). “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” was the biggest singalong of the evening, and showcased the prettiest synths and guitars of the whole night. They closed their set with “Apocalypse”, which was complemented by a disco ball at the end. This was the first major change in lighting over the course of the show. Before, it was mostly black and white lights on stage in similar patterns throughout. The disco ball added a nice element of sentiment and just made me want to slow dance the night away. They came out and did “Dreaming Of You” to end the night, and left the Madison audience with something to think about.