2 years ago I saw chvrches at Shepard’s Bush Empire, they were riding the success of their debut album ‘bones of what you believe’ and selling out shows all around the country. I don’t think anyone, even them could have predicted the impact that album would have, with sparse lights and only an album plus b sides to perform the glasgow electro pop trio almost felt under prepared for the success. Everyone who left that gig had the same questions on their lips: can this band continue what they’ve started? Can chvrches get bigger?
Since that night chvrches have gone from strength to strength, they have taken the world by storm, rising up festival bills and taking on larger and larger venues. On the 19th November they took on the Albert Hall in Manchester.
Chvrches came to life like never before, flying straight into album opener ‘never ending circles’ in a flurry of lights and sounds making it clear to al they want to leave a mark on the indie/synth pop world. Lauren has grown as a front woman taking controversy in her stride and chanelling it into into becoming a role model for fronting a band, she is both personable and fierce, and combining her passion with her fiery nature she has evolved into an amiable and admirable singer.
Stylistically chvrches have always been a mechanical creature with a human heart, Martin and Iain have streamlined the production and the live sound combining mechanical drum beats with swirling synthesisers with awe inspiring effect. As with the new album less is more, the chorus of sounds and timbres filled the venue yet never felt clustered, they have done a fantastic job of bringing the studio albums to life with such grace, style and impact. One of the highlights was Martin taking centre stage for ‘under the tide’, as he danced around the stage amping up the crowd it was undeniable how cohesive yet versatile the band are.
Support for tonight came from Mansionair a dreamy Australian synth rock band. At their core they are similar to The XX and Tycho but introduce aspects of other alt rock bands with Keane esq choruses and flume like synths, they take these aspects and merge them into something magnificent. The instrumentals complimented the vocalists amazing performance, the band performed songs that were diverse in mood and theme but never felt out of place. The entire performance carried a je ne sais quoi, from the first guitar note to the final synth chord I was utterly hooked, Mansionair made the support slot for chvrches feel like a headline set at Glastonbury.
As chvrches stood before me, Iain out from behind his pedestal delivering thick ground shaking bass notes, Lauren dancing between vocal styles and Martin launching synth hooks across the beautifully lit energy filled venue you can’t help but feel overwhelmed. This Glasgow based trio may have been born on the Internet but they were raised by their ever growing fan base, people of all ages and all walks of life were there to show their dedication and support.
Chvrches closed with ‘clearest blue’ but came back to play with crowd favourite Mother We Share and as people left the venue I think everyone had the same question on their lips: can this band continue what they’ve started? Can chvrches get bigger?