In a sea of black leather jackets, Cigarettes After Sex brought its ethereal, atmospheric sound to Treasure Island Music Festival on Sunday.
The very minimalist drum kit of Jacob Tomsky, arranged on one side of the stage, provided a steady beat for “Crush,” the first song of the evening. The delicate guitar strums evaporated into the air, mixing with the low androgyny of lead singer Greg Gonzalez’s voice.
Gonzalez effortlessly walked to the front of the stage to perform simple yet high-impact guitar solos throughout the set. During the performance of “K.” Gonzalez somehow always sounded like he was whispering, but in a strangely welcome way.
At one point during the show, a woman near the barrier of the crowd held up a sign saying “Your music is the forest I get lost in.” The people in the crowd behind her were getting very obviously upset with her blocking their view, and the annoyed shouts could be heard over the soft vocals from the speakers.
Cigarettes After Sex do not in any way provide a high-energy experience for their crowd of mellow listeners, so songs such as “Keep On Loving You” washed over the gentle sways of the audience.
One of the band’s biggest hits, “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby,” sounded just as low-key as the other songs performed throughout the night. Variation is not the forte of the shoegaze idols, hence it was easy to get lost when it came to which song was playing.
The chill performance by Cigarettes After Sex fit perfectly with the lowering sunset view from the park, an orange backlight for the San Francisco skyline, setting the romantic mood. The band’s music may usually help people fall asleep on a regular listen, but its live performance was a calming close to the festival weekend.