CHVRCHES prove to be the innovators who continue to push boundaries, dazzle and entertain.
It had been a year since CHVRCHES had played in Glasgow. And if it wasn’t for singer Lauren Mayberry powering through an illness the wait could have been longer.
Coming off the back of a support gig with Coldplay, the synth indie act stopped off in their home city at its most famous venue for two sold out shows. Yet it could have been in doubt due to Mayberry’s health.
Thankfully she pulled through to deliver the type of performance that have the outfit celebrated all over the world.
Support band Dead Pony had their own pack of fans and if they keep up the momentum it won’t be long before they’re headlining venues such as The Barrowlands in their own right.
They’re touted as post punk but have a harder edge to them than a lot of their peers. There's a slight Nu Metal tinge as well but don't let that put you off. With front women Anna Shields, they’ve got a singer who commands your attention and respect in equal measures. They threw in their cover of Nelly Furtado’s ‘Maneater’ to a thunderous reception.
Then it was onto the headliners. It was one of those bizarre nights where the strange almost went unnoticed. Nothing to do with the welcoming diverse crowd the band attract. The fact that it was a rare sunny summer night in Glasgow made the conditions bordering on sweating with the band fanning themselves at every opportunity. Along with a concert goer at the barriers dressed as a giant Greggs sausage roll.
‘He Said She Said’ from the bands last album Screen Violence signposted the start of the show with type of bass that shook the Barras to its foundations. Mayberry coughed at the end of 'Bury It' but it didn't derail her. Cups of water were passed around a parched crowd as the performance and material raised temperatures even more.
There’s a few factors that make CHVRCHES stand out from the crowd and one of them is Mayberry. Gifted with the type of distinctively natural voice which sounds even better live than on record. There are costume changes too. The sequenced two piece outfit she arrived on stage in changed to a black top and hot pants for 'Violent Delights.' Then before a pulsating 'Final Girl' Mayberry appeared with a t-shirt bearing the song title much to the delight of the crowd.
It’s not all Mayberrys show. Bandmates Ian Cook and Martin Doherty often stepped out from behind their keyboards to play guitars and rock Gods at the front of the stage. Meanwhile unofficial four member, drummer Jonny Scott made his debut performance at the Barrowlands with a display he’d never forget. No matter how many glasses of red wine he had.
Before the encore and emotional Doherty told how at the age of 14 he'd seen Placebo play the very same venue and he told his pals then if he was ever in a band who'd headline the Barrowlands he'd have made it.
To cement the fact that CHVRCHES had indeed made it Mayberry returned covered in blood keeping with the horror theme of their last album. 'Asking For A Friend' had the well known springy floor bouncing. 'The Mother We Share' emphasised their retro 80's style which sounded as fresh as tomorrow before they closed with 'Clearest Blue' a song relevant for Pride month.
“We may travelled far and wide but we’re still a bunch of Glasgow idiots,” Mayberry said toward the end of the set. That does the band a massive disservice.
CHVRCHES are innovators who continue to push boundaries, dazzle and entertain and who'll always have their fans. Not just the type to keep them cool on a boiling Weegie night either.