Cigarettes After Sex hit Chicago last night for the first of two sold out shows at Thalia Hall. There’s a new album right around the corner, so fans were excited to hear what Greg Gonzalez had been cooking up for them. After a not-so-great start, the crowd was treated to a beautiful set of songs from the earlier EP and LP, as well as a couple of the new tunes-including one that had never been played live before.
Instead of kicking the night off with an opening act, they chose to begin with a short film. This was, to me, an interesting idea. Cigarettes After Sex have a singular vision, and another band or artist wouldn’t feel quite right. So a little movie sticking with the same aesthetic and sound makes sense.
Unfortunately the crowd did not feel the same. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the show was supposed to begin at 8:30 and the clip started playing after 9. And then ran for 20 minutes. 5 minutes in people started getting restless-the guy next to me was screaming at the stage, asking “Where the fuck are you??????” As if the band would suddenly appear. Had they started on time, I don’t think the reaction would have been so angry.
However, that all faded as soon as Cigarettes After Sex took the stage. Then everything was chill and people settled into a nice groove. Gonzalez’s vocals were ethereal as always, and the back line was laying down the sexy vibes for which the group is known.
The highlight of the night for me was “Sweet.” Something about that guitar kicking in after the first verse gets me every time, and this live version was no different.
A couple surprises during the set: they did their cover of R.E.O. Speedwagon’s “Keep On Loving You” and also a brand new song from the new album they’d never played live before!