Gig review – Cigarettes After Sex

Cigarettes After Sex

Glasgow Queen Margaret’s Union, November 14 2017

‘So what’s the deal with this band, then?’ asks my +1 for the evening.

What’s the deal, indeed? Cigarettes After Sex’s eponymous debut has never been far from the turntable or streaming device since its release in June of this year. Greg Gonzalez and co. have produced an album that shows the meeting of Slowdive shoegaze with the slowcore of Low and the fragile beauty of Trembling Blue Stars. Driving along the Scottish Central Belt from Edinburgh to Glasgow alone in the dark on the motorway it was the perfect soundtrack.

So, for the gig itself?

Oh dear. Well, Gonzalez’s beautiful, androgynous voice sounds as good as it does on record, and the songs are faithfully replicated…but there’s something missing. Anyone coming to a Cigarettes After Sex show expecting AC/DC pyrotechnics would have been deluded and it wouldn’t have worked. The thing is that there is little or no stage presence from the band. ‘K’ and ‘Each Time You Fall In Love’ and other songs just seem to be as they are on record and a feeling that it might as well be the album playing on a stereo.

Sure there are moody black and white films projected on a screen behind with images of buildings, snow falling, girls crying. It might be appropriate, but somehow it feels as cliched in the situation as pyrotechnics at a RAWK gig.

Depressingly, I am forced to conclude that at this point Cigarettes After Sex are nothing to get excited about as a live act. There’s little or no interaction with the crowd, and I’m just left feeling flat.

…And I drove home, and listened to the album yet again. It’s still a brilliant album, but the live execution was a damp squib.

Pity.

 

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