Chvrches – Barrowlands, Glasgow, 08/03/2014
Chvrches burst onto the scene in the early part of last year, and they released their debut album ‘The Bones of What You Believe’ in September. Playing at Glasgow’s famed Barrowlands, this was for all intents and purposes a homecoming show, and there isn’t many better places for it than on a Saturday night at the Barrowlands. The local band have had a big year since they came fifth in the BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll, and they were welcomed to the stage with rapturous applause. Personally, it’s always an exciting moment to see a band for the first time, and I couldn’t wait to see what the band were like in a live setting.
Despite being a relatively new band, the members are no strangers to putting on exceptional live shows, with Martin Doherty touring with the Twilight Sad, and Iain Cook being a founding member of the excellent Aereogramme, and follow up band The Unwinding Hours. They took to the stage at around 9.15pm and started off with album standout ‘We Sink’ before bursting straight in to the terrific ‘Lies’. Chvrches brand of energetic synthpop is truly infectious and really came to life in a live setting, with the opening 4 tracks getting a wild reception from the audience. Things settled down after the frenetic opening as the band played some of the slower tracks, whilst also providing the opportunity for singer Lauren Mayberry to interact with the crowd. The highlight of this being her personal memory of her visit to the Barrowlands as a 15 year old to see Jimmy Eat World, which ended unfortunately for her with a bumped head and a missed show! After a busy recent touring schedule, there was also the opportunity for the band to talk about what they missed most about Glasgow and Scotland (one of which is the word ‘c***’ – apparently Glasgow is the only place in the world that it can be used positively!)
Mayberry and Doherty switched vocals for ‘Under The Tide’ which was one of the evenings highlights before concluding the main set with album opener ‘The Mother We Share’. One of the strengths and weaknesses of a band touring their first album is the limited song choice. Strength, in the sense that it allows them to play every song for a crowd that are into them from the get go, and a weakness, in the sense that it limits the options for mixing up the set. This is something I think Chvrches struggled with tonight, particularly in the choice to play standouts ‘Lies’ and ‘Gun’ in the early part of the set as opposed to the concluding section. The encore itself was led by arguably the weakest track on the album, ‘You Caught The Light’, when one of the catchier efforts may have been a better fit. It’s a tricky balance to achieve, especially for a new band, and I don’t think Chvrches have quite mastered it yet, but that will come with time, and with more terrific songs in their back catalogue to play.
That’s not to take anything away from what was a terrific showcase of the band’s stellar first album, and a strong statement from a band that feel their best is yet to come.
Under The Tide
The Mother We Share
You Caught The Light
By The Throat