Cigarettes After Sex Emotionally Sways the Crowds at The Vogue

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On Saturday, Oct. 19, an up and coming band from El Paso, TX called Cigarettes After Sex graced The Vogue Theatre with its presence. Their debut Indianapolis show was greeted by a healthy sized crowd full of sad long song enthusiasts and the band did not disappoint.

The ambient pop band got started late at 9:00 p.m. with a packed venue, which had soft black and white images of crashing waves, women’s silhouettes, and crying faces projected on the stage. It was a pleasant retreat from the chilly, chaotic streets of Broad Ripple on a weekend night. Instead of bar hopping, this crowd swayed and immersed themselves into the music.

Many who know this band first think of the sweet, melancholic musings of their songs titled “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” and “Affection.” Their tender lyrics reflect themes of love and devotion, paired vocalist Greg Gonzalez’s androgynous voice. Admittedly, you need to be in the right mood for their songs, but they are such a worthwhile listen if it suits the occasion. The vocals are reminiscent of Beach House’s Victoria Legrand, another popular dream pop band. 

Their live show exceeded expectations, especially if you as a listener are seeking an experience that’s something of more substance. It’s an emotional experience to behold with such ethereal, slow songs rocking you into a sentimental stupor. This kind of concert can make you as a listener feel dewy-eyed and bittersweet about the good times, which is really an inviting contrast to the typical concert-going experience. It’s not cloyingly sweet, but just the right amount.

Photo taken by Zenobia Weigel

Cigarettes After Sex has actually been around for more than a decade, despite their recent flare-up in popularity. After moving to New York in 2015 and gaining YouTube popularity through algorithms based on common interests, Gonzalez’s project started to gain adoration and fans. Like so many other musical success stories in this era, this band suddenly touched thousands of people on the internet in the blink of an eye and was, therefore, able to tour the world. 

One nice observation at the show was that this band clearly appeals to so many different kinds of people based on the crowd, perhaps due to its universally relatable thematic elements. This diversity truly brought a feeling of intimacy that you don’t always find at live shows, although there were still far too many iPhones blocking your face and creating some slight interference. Technological distractions aside, there’s still something to be said about the connection amongst strangers that Cigarettes After Sex’s sad love songs create.

At the end of their last song, they announced that their second studio album, “Cry”, would be released on Oct. 25. This is their first Indianapolis visit “but certainly not the last” they said to the crowd. If you find an opportunity to see them live, I highly recommend it. 

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