Once They Get Going, Chvrches are Something Special
Photos by Christi Vest
Chvrches, Robert DeLong
Revention Music Center
December 18, 2015
Chvches look impressive, like there’s no stage anywhere that’s too big for them. They’ve got the energy of a rock band and lead singer Lauren Mayberry moves across the stage with the confidence of the strongest of performers. Add in to that a big but tasteful light show and it’s easy to see why they’ve gone from early-afternoon festival band to true headliner over the recent past.
It’s a small bummer, then, that they don’t always sound big. The show started and they were loud but not powerful. There was a depth that was missing from what was coming out of the speakers, as if giant chunks of the sound spectrum had been cut out and tossed aside. There was a real disconnect for about five songs or so from the band they looked like and the band they sounded like.
The good news was that eventually everything came together. By the time a drum set appeared onstage for Mayberry to add an extra layer to “Empty Threat” things were great, and the sound finally hold up its end of the deal. The new songs shined live, and really seemed to give the band an extra emotional push that was lacking in their material from their debut album.
As a result, the band comes off as a lot more well-rounded these days. Seeing them live doesn’t feel like 12 variations on one emotion, and it’s a lot easier to get swept up into their newfound energy.
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That’s not to say that the classics weren’t welcome. “Tether” is still amazing, especially the back half of the song, and it was cool that the new album didn’t mean dropping “Under the Tide” from the setlist because it remains a highlight of the band. I could listen to Mayberry sing all day, but there’s something that Martin Doherty’s singing style and stage presence that I find captivating, and I’m glad he still gets his moment on the mike.
As the year winds down and the shows slow up as bands decide to stay home for the holidays, this was one of those shows that makes me hopeful for the future. Did you know that it’s only been three years since “The Mother We Shared” was released? When I think about how far Chvrches have come since then, it makes me smile. If they keep getting stronger at the rate they are now, they’re going to be a force.
So, How was the Opener? I have special places in my heart for a) one man bands and b) unorthodox MIDI controllers. As such, Robert DeLong is one of my favorite human beings on the planet. It’s hard not to admire someone who comes up with as many creative ways to manipulate sound live as DeLong does. While I wasn’t expecting to get over an hour from him in an opening slot, he made the most of every minute he had onstage. He’ll be back in town over at Numbers in February, and you’d be silly not to go.
Personal Bias: Pretty big fan of The Bones of What You Believe, learning to love Every Open Eye slowly but surely.
So, How was the Crowd? You expect a certain amount of dancing at a Chvrches show, but I was impressed by variety of dancing on display. From grown men doing full interpretive dances to teens who moved like they wanted in to a Bring Me the Horizon show to bros who like the music but only know how to dance ironically, there was some mighty fine people-watching to be done.
Overheard in the Crowd: “Are they really that short?” a girl asked her friend. “No, they’re wearing boots,” her friend replied.
Random Notebook Dump: I wonder how them BLSHS kids are doing.
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