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Live Review: Cigarettes After Sex

5 January 2018 | 2:21 pm | Carly Packer

"There's a few gleaming cheeks and quickly wiped-away tears as the choir of voices reverberating through the venue echoes on for what seems like an age."

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It's a warm and muggy evening as we wait patiently in line at iconic Brisbane venue The Zoo for ambient, lo-fi pop collective Cigarettes After Sex. Doors open nice and early, and there's a distinct absence of DJ Decks Panther, who was originally intended to subdue fans until the much-anticipated Brooklyn band made their way onto the stage after 10pm. We mill around the crowded room for some time, chatting to other guests, and the excitement continues to build. There's people of all ages and lifestyles here to enjoy the show and everyone has a story. By the time we see the band walk up onto the stage, the full venue is all settled in and there's a warm, welcoming air billowing about.

The first, delicate notes of Sweet echo through the room to gentle cheers and from this point on the audience is captivated, all swaying together. Songs Young & Dumb and Each Time You Fall In Love follow to equal reception. All eyes in the audience are alight with wonder or closed in bliss as we sing along, the sound of our voices echoing like a heavenly choir, and harmonising in an unexpectedly beautiful and fitting way alongside frontman Greg Gonzalez. There isn't much chatter in between tracks, with just enough time for applause before the next song drifts dreamily over us and hypnotises once again. Their version of REO Speedwagon's Keep On Loving You and Nothing's Gonna Hurt You Baby eventually follow and the crowd moves as one, swaying dreamily along. Couples kiss, friends squeeze each other's hands and the vibe inside the large space is beautiful.

The band pause for a moment, and Gonzalez thanks everyone for a beautiful night and announces their last song to whistles and applause. The telltale symphony of Apocalypse starts. There's a few gleaming cheeks and quickly wiped-away tears as the choir of voices reverberating through the venue echoes on for what seems like an age. There's a devastating round of applause after they finish and leave the stage, and requests for an encore bounce around the room. After a few short minutes, anyone who thought about leaving suddenly rushes back to the stage as the band walk on for the last time, announcing they have one more song.

The crowd then shivers with delight as Cigarettes After Sex start up Dreaming Of You, a song from their 2012 debut EP, I. There's a fervour in the audience as we writhe, sing and cry together. The song drags out, nobody wanting it to ever end. But eventually it does and the band disembark the stage once more. As the venue's music starts up once more it's like awakening from a dream, realising where and who you are again. We move along, following wherever the night takes us.

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