Cigarettes after Sex Live in Berlin – an indieberlin concert review

by | indieBerlin

As I made my way through ‘Musik & Frieden’ in Kreuzberg, I felt transported back in time to the famous John Cusack movie ‘High Fidelity’. The smoke, purple/red fog lights, the tiny stage, the people silent with beer bottles in their hands, set on Cigarettes after Sex frontman ‘Greg Gonzales’ delicate yet romantic voice.

I remember in one particular scene of the the movie, where John Cusack, together with Jack Black were so deeply blown away by Lisa Bonnet’s rendition of ‘Baby I love your way’, that they said they wished they could be with a musician.

A blown away feeling

cigarettes_after_sex_Berlin_Musik_und_Frieden_klI think yesterday I kind of got a similar feeling as the Brooklyn-based band did their own rendition of 80’s song ‘Keep on Loving You’, but for me it was more about how the songwriting goes.

Those dreamy vocals and shoegazed guitar riffs gave the cover song a new signature. They made it their own, and possibly better then the original.

Using relationships as a songwriting device, Gonzalez narrates a splendid lullaby in ‘I’m a Firefighter’, undoubtedly one of the band’s most poetic pieces. “I need your love inside of mine, like I could die.”

After the song was performed, Gonzalez said that the next song he wrote is based on the drunken arguments that couples tend to get into. The crowd just laughed for a moment, however when that hazy synth was played, the band’s single ‘Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby’ was immediately apparent, and the crowd swayed slowly from one side to another, with couples in each other’s arms.

This is how one knows ‘Cigarettes after Sex’

More was to come: ‘Dreaming Of You’ – another track from their first EP –  again clearly showed Gonzalez’ strong mechanism – his clear, noir voice. I like the fact that I could understand the lyrics, I felt part of his stories. Well I think everyone did. He took the whole crowd by the neck and took us somewhere else, into our own dreamworld. In fact Gonzalez said that his songs are good for sleep therapy. “It’s Affection, always, are you gonna see it someday? My attention for you, even if it’s what you need.”

‘Affection’ is another tight track, with a very clean sound

Cigarettes after Sex also played some new tracks from their upcoming album. But unfortunately their set wasn’t very long. In fact after around 40 minutes they concluded their set. I didn’t find this to be a problem though, as even though it was short, their set was strong. For a band I had only discovered the night before, I was blown away.

To the shouts of the crowd, the band came back again for an encore – and not only one but two.

The crowd just wanted the night to never end

I looked around and could see faces smiling, eyes closed, there and then it seemd that past pains were soothed and vanished and only love replaced them, the room was glowing with this silent yet comfortable peace. Gonzalez thanked the crowd for being there. I thank him for existing.

Review and photos: Shawn James

Hear the latest Moa McKay Single Heartbreak Billie