5 Stars

If the filigree and emotions of a music act could steal your heart, soothe your soul and caress your ears at the same time, then Cigarettes After Sex at Neon Lights Festival 2018 would be the one.

Returning on November 9-11 at Fort Gate, Fort Canning Park, Neon Lights festival brought its fans the worldly-famous artists— Interpol, Cigarettes After Sex, The Vaccines, Yuna, Caribou, Phum Viphurit, Peking Duk, Shame and more. Alongside the mentioned are the regional talents like Yuna, The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band and more. (See the full lineup here.)

Neon Lights 2018
©Neon Lights

And for this such an occasion, AsiaLive365 got to evidence the comeback of the festival that cherished the existence of art and music in The Lion City in which we were completely swamped by the beauty and quality sounds and artistic activities. Here, we’d like to share with you our most favourite act so far from the 3-day event…

It’s Cigarettes After Sex…

©Ebru Yildiz

From the delicate swirls and colours of guitar chords to the iridescence of Greg Gonzalez’s vocals, the utter beauty that descended upon their act that evening felt like gossamer against the senses.

Even nature played a part in their mesmerising performance for it started to rain buckets into their fourth song.

Were the heavens crying as well?

“Sweet” feel like raindrops against the soul, even before the actual raindrops had fallen. Every moment and nuance of colour in each note just pulled at the heartstrings of this music lover – a feeling that was further accentuated for I was standing right there in the photographer’s pit.

Then it rained…

Cigarettes Live at Neon Lights
©Vanessa Mostafa

As some folks ran for shelter, hiding under trees, under the shelter of the “pretty important people” (VIP) area, or to the info booth to buy a poncho, there were others who were already well-prepared with their own devices of shelter. While some, merely just stood there in the rain…

Riveted to the ground, and by the music…

Looking back right now, it all felt like a dream.

Almost like one of those once in a lifetime music experiences. You just had to be there!

The fact that there were ambient textures in their music, coupled with the rain and atmospheric white lighting, it felt like every one of this happenstance-like factor played a part in turning their performance into one of the most beautiful ones that I have ever seen and felt.

Cigarettes Live at Neon Lights
©Vanessa Mostafa

“Sunsetz” was sung and played beautifully against the heavy pelting of the rain… Rain that could actually be seen against the shining beams of the stage lighting on both stage right and stage left.

Standing further away on the grassy patch of puddles with everyone else, I felt every moment in their performance of this song, which just pulled at the heartstrings and enveloped me in all its ambient textures.

Despite the rain, I was incandescently happy…

This time, it was me that was riveted to the ground. And by their music. We all swayed as one, mesmerised by his voice and colours that surround it.

Cigarettes Live at Neon Lights
©Vanessa Mostafa

Now, if the beauty of that did not pull at the heartstrings, then the crowd singing along to “K.” in the rain and in the dark certainly would have.

Hearing everyone sing, like a shadowy choir, to “K.” in the ethereal dust of the rain, the smell of petrichor in the air, was just surreal.

Indeed, Cigarettes After Sex may have only performed for an hour at the festival. But their performance will never be forgotten.

It will remain forever as that feeling etched in your heart that you will always remember even as the years passed and the details get foggy.

For those who have been to a Cigarettes After Sex gig, well this was twice as good. Maybe even thrice…

Cigarettes Live at Neon Lights
©Vanessa Mostafa

I am so glad that I (as well as the entire crowd during that sold out festival night) had a chance to experience this beautifully sublime act, rain and all!

Setlist

1. Crush
2. Each Time You Fall In Love
3. Affection
4. Sunsetz
5. Sweet
6. John Wayne
7. K.
8. Keep On Loving You
9. Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby
10. Please Don’t Cry
11. Apocalypse
12. Dreaming Of You

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