igarettes After Sex's 2019 North American Tour takes the concert experience to a healing, transformational level with their soft melodies and sensuous lyrics. The group's unique ambiance of slow beats, soft guitar and the dreamy vocalizations of Greg Gonzalez have amassed hundreds of millions of plays on streaming platforms, comforting long lost lovers and cradling those still dreaming of another. Their music seems to create a safe auditory space where one can dream of past loves or marvel at the very existence of love and how it contrasts the massive amounts of pain that exists in the world.

The show began with a 30-35 minute video installation showing a rain storm at the beach in black and white. Emphatic phrases burning in saturated white text against the dark screen appeared in between spaced intervals of instrumental piano and attendees were left to ponder their own emotions.

At first the crowd was silent, observing the video, but as the stagnant image burned into their brains many began to start talking, adding voices to the symphony of sounds that served as the backing track for the video. The video seemed to be a social experiment; it began 30 minutes after the show was supposed to start, it was essentially silent and dark creating a serene anxiety within the crowd, but ultimately it set the stage for the entire performance because it forced the audience to sit with their emotions, even just for a few moments.

A spark of excitement raged into a fiery explosion as the band, dressed completely in black, approached the stage with Greg Gonzalez taking a central position. The crowd seemed to melt into a puddle of euphoria as Gonzalez greeted the crowd and began to sing in his signature, silky style. This concert approached a realm of healing because of the audience's response to the musical serenade. The main reaction was to hold on to a partner. So many people were looking deeply into the eyes of their lovers, holding hands and letting themselves sway gently to the sounds. It was an atmosphere of emotion that could not be ignored, it was amplified at times when shrill shrieks followed particular lyrics as Gonzalez seemed to whisper-sing them into the microphone. Many fans departed after hearing the song they were waiting for, which was 'Nothing's Gonna Hurt You Baby'. If they persevered for a couple of more tracks they would have heard 'Apocalypse' and 'Keep On Loving You'. They also could have been saving their energy for the second show they added for Chicago's many Cigarettes After Sex fans. Who Knows? The Cigarettes After Sex 2019 North American Tour continues until the end of October but they will continue to tour in Europe afterwards.

Photos by
Pedro Acosta