Concert Review: Cigarettes After Sex


Mireya Reyes

Lead singer Greg Gonzales and Cigarettes After Sex perform on their Fall 2022 tour on September 16, at the Fox Theatre in Oakland, CA.

They say sex sells, which Greg Gonzalez and his band, Cigarettes After Sex are well aware of. The band’s songs play on the themes of love and sex, which they use to their advantage. 

The band – Gonzales, bassist Randy MIller, and drummer Jacob Tomsky –  is currently on their Fall 2022 North American Tour, and their fourth concert took place in Oakland, CA, on September 16th, at the Fox Theater. At this show, they didn’t focus on a specific album but instead performed their most popular songs, the majority from their 2017 Cigarettes After Sex Album.  

The venue had three levels. and the main floor was very open and the main stage could be seen by almost every spot and the sound traveled constantly through the crowd.  When facing the stage drummer Jacob Tomsky was on the left hand side and bassist Randy Miller on the right with Gonzalez in betweenThe venue was very intimate which again matched the bands sense of mystery and intimacy in their music, as well as their persona.  

The lights were extremely dimmed throughout the entire performance. When the band walked on stage there was a spotlight alternating from the front towards the band to the white beams that would be directed behind Gonzalez, so that the crowd would only see his silhouette as he swayed around the stage. It didn’t seem to bother many people because it fit the very dreamy mood, the band was visible but the spotlight for most part stayed on Gonzalez. 

 After coming on stage 45 minutes late, they played for an hour including the encore. Their tardiness was upsetting  because there was no opening act; there was really no excuse for being as late as they were. However, the crowd forgave them and had very high energy as soon as they saw the band, for such a calm group their fans were anything but that. 

They opened with one of their popular singles “Crush” and closed with an encore from their extended play I. called  “Dreaming of You”. There were a total of 13 songs played throughout the night with a mix  of their albums, singles, and EPs. Sadly, they did not play “Sesame Syrup” which is my favorite song, but other than that the set list was great and played both their hits and deep cuts such as “Opera House” and “John Wayne” both from the 2017 Cigarettes After Sex album.

They played straight through for about an hour, their concerts are usually an hour and a half, but because of the delay they cut it short which was disappointing. 

The sound alternated a lot because the instrumentals were louder than the singer. Most of their songs have similar instrumentals, so it was slightly difficult figuring out the songs they were playing at first, but towards the end the sound got cleaner. But some of the songs sounded sped up, especially in the end, which threw me off a little. There was very little interaction with the crowd, but they did welcome the crowd after a few songs, as well as thank the crowd in the end. 

Greg Gonzalez sang beautifully with his unique voice, aside from the sped up part before the show ended. The instrumentals where Miller and Tomsky gave the crowd so much emotion that made many around me get emotional. I was astonished about how similarly they sounded live compared to their recorded versions, so much so that it was as if I were listening to them in my headphones. I didn’t mind that it sounded the same and I don’t see that as a bad thing necessarily, but it wasn’t as interesting as artists who change it up or play their version of a cover. 

The performance was enjoyable, but it was bland and lacked the variety other artists bring to their performances. It didn’t meet the expectations I had for the performance because it lacked variety and the interaction with fans.

I would rate this concert 3/5 because although I love this band and their music, the performance itself was not the best and the tardiness compelled me to give them a lower rating. This doesn’t discredit them as artists because I do adore them, but their performance left something to be desired.