During their highly anticipated 2023 North American tour, Cigarettes After Sex delivered a soothing and enthralling performance on Wednesday, October 18., turning The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory into a dreamy oasis.
The stage was decorated in a simple setup with minimal equipment as the crowd eagerly waited with quiet conversation for the scheduled start time of 8:00 p.m. Only the essential instruments—a microphone, guitar, drum kit, and amplifiers adorned the stage, showcasing the band’s focus on music more than anything else.
Despite the slight delay, the band emerged on stage around 8:40 p.m., turning the factory into a haven for dream-pop enthusiasts. On the lawn, fans got to their feet, and those waiting in the pit stood straighter with anticipation as the venue darkened and a soft atmospheric glow illuminated the stage. Opening with “Crush,” Cigarettes After Sex immediately transported the audience into a world of alternative rock, love, and romance. The concert’s atmosphere was further enhanced by fan attire, casual and comfortable monotone clothes that fit the vibe of the concert and matched what the artists wore.
Lead singer Greg Gonzalez’s voice blended seamlessly with the soft guitar melodies to produce an intimate tone of introspection and desire. The band, who were dressed in dark, muted colors, then transitioned into the next two songs, “You’re All I want” and “Nothing’s gonna hurt you baby,” giving the evening a touch of nostalgic yearning. Both songs were released in 2012 and 2015, respectively, bringing back fond memories for long-time fans.
Midway through the concert the band introduced “Cry,” “Sweet,” and “Sunsetz.” Randall Miller, the bassist, and Jacob Tomsky on drums provided a solid rhythmic foundation for Gonzalez’s vocals and guitar melodies. Miller’s melodic bass lines and Tomsky’s atmospheric drumming created a magical moment. Fans swayed in unison to the hypnotic rhythm of the songs, which reverberated throughout the venue. Each member’s style combined to bring the crowd into a dreamlike state, suspending time for a moment of fleeting bliss.
One of the standout moments of the night was the performance of the 2017 popular song “K”, from the band’s self-titled debut album. The delicate instrumentation, coupled with subtle percussion created a serene atmosphere. Gonzalez’s vocals flowed effortlessly, evoking raw emotions and vulnerability, creating special moments for those listening and an intimate connection between the band and the audience. The band is known for its dreamy and atmospheric sound, which is achieved through a combination of soft guitar melodies, subtle percussion and Gonzalez’s whispery lyrics.
As the concert neared its end with “Apocalypse,” fans erupted into cheers and yelled for an encore, which left fans with a feeling of infatuation, eagerly awaiting more.
Cigarettes After Sex provided a respite to a chaotic and noisy world. Their performance at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory invited the audience to a place of introspection where emotions flowed freely. Altogether, the performance was a testament to the band’s powerful melancholic melodies and haunting vocals while leaving a mark on fans and allowing listeners to enter an ethereal state.