The dreamy Texas crooners Cigarettes After Sex held their first of two sold out shows at Webster Hall on Wednesday (the second being at Brooklyn Steel on Thursday), and they held court over a crowd of young PDA aficionados enraptured in an orgy of emotion. This band is on tour supporting their second album appropriately entitled Cry, and this travelling sad and sexy spectacle is attracting hordes of tortured smoochers and lovelorn sulkers for sold out shows everywhere they go. They opened with a short film that went on too long for my tastes, but the exposed black and white silhouettes set a tone for the show to come, and it gave the crowds a chance to fondle each other with intense passion in the dark embrace of the atmospheres the show emoted.
The first thing that most people notice about this band is that the sultry seductive singer of the band is actually a man by the name Greg Gonzalez who happens to have a very high-ranged falsetto voice. Sometimes his silky and sultry voice makes you imagine a smoky jazz singer like Chet Baker, and sometimes he reminds you of the saddened ethereal tones of Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, but it always lulls you into a sad yet sexy dream-like state that happens to be perfect for making woopy. Their music captures that pained yet erotic dynamic perfectly, and it clearly had a powerfully hypnotic effect over the audience, as I saw more public displays of affection than I had seen since the last time I went to see a Ryan Gosling movie (thanks LaLa Land), however, with the sometimes soul-wrenching nature of the music, it can sometimes feel like getting caught making out during Schindler’s List (thanks for ruining that Seinfeld). I found myself surrounded by hordes of couples fondling, petting, and sharing saliva during the show. I have experienced similar displays at many shows like The Cure and Mazzy Star, and it has become clear over time that darker music can be a turn on.
I have also personally found sad music can really bring out the most creative corners of the soul, and I’ll often throw the gloomiest music possible while painting or drawing. They have a mellow ambient approach to their music that lingers and hovers in the air. The shimmering shoegazey guitars create a thick and airy atmosphere that contrasts with the gloomy and heartbreaking vocals. They played lots of tomes of sensual sadness from their last stellar self-titled album in 2017 as well as some of their early non-album singles. I must say, their cover of REO Speedwagon’s “Keep On Loving You” turned a heart-swelling love anthem in to a creepy stalker song mantra, and it was awesome. It was a stunning show, and I can’t wait to gloom out with them again very soon.
Article: Dean Keim