If any group of musicians knows how to transport its fans into a romantic world of black and white, it’s Cigarettes After Sex. The band took the stage Oct. 17 at Thalia Hall (1807 S. Allport St.) and left fans in awe as the slow burning, sensual music they’re well known for came to life.
The ambient pop group — known for their melodic tunes and provocative lyrics — proved popular in Chicago, selling out its first show and adding a second consecutive date.
If Cigarettes After Sex aimed to be different, they succeeded. They didn’t have any openers but played a collection of moving images instead. At 9 p.m., lights dimmed and solemn classical music played as an overhead screen came down. The screen switched between a black-and-white scene of a digitized beach on a rainy day and scenes from old black-and-white films. Song lyrics, written in cursive pink font, laid over the images and the crowd scrammed to take a photo of every passing scene.
Smoke machines and white strobe lights transformed the venue into a cinematic dream while the ambience of the band’s music made it feel as if the audience was dropped into a black-and-white new wave French film. Couples made up most of the crowd, swaying back and forth with each other as they became entranced in the highly romantic lyrics of every song.
The band — comprised of Greg Gonzalez, Phillip Tubbs, Jacob Tomsky and Randy Miller — wore all black and sported beers in their hands. They started the set with “Sesame Soda,” “Crush” and “K.,” popular songs off their 2017 self-titled album. The band proved immensely talented, sounding exactly like it does on record as it sounds live. The performance was intimate, as if it was just the audience, the stage and the band — and nothing else in the world.
The group also played new songs “Heavenly” and “Falling in Love,” getting the crowd excited for its second studio album set to release Oct. 25.
Cigarettes After Sex is available on Spotify and Apple Music.