Arriving to a very late sound-check for the support act, Thumpers, there was a sense that the evening would be somewhat chaotic. This was then followed quite promptly be a fire alarm triggered by the smoke machines.
Firstly, a massive “well done” to Thumpers. Despite everything happening around them, they stayed calm, collected, and professional; even as the fire alarm went off mid-song. They simply shrugged it off, quipping that ‘it was like something [they’d] seen the Killers do once…’ The alt-indie duo only really seemed comfortable about halfway through their set when they performed their next single, ‘Sound of Screams’. This was a shame, as they had great riffs and harmonies to support Marcus Pepperell’s vocals. If heavy drumbeats, catchy choruses, and the odd trumpet are your kind of thing, then check out their Youtube page here.
After a complete stage transformation, the night’s headliners Chvrches arrived, complete with a strobe show. Opening with ‘We Sink’, anticipation buzzed through the crowd, although there was a sense that not many people were familiar with the song, despite its use in FIFA 14. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case throughout. ‘Gun’, ‘Recover’, and ‘Night Sky’ had the audience singing and clapping, with ‘Recover’ having some of the best audience participation I’ve seen.
Chvrches were clearly very comfortable on the stage, and this was reflected in the way that they spoke to the audience. Frontwoman Lauren Mayberry told of how her throat tea ‘tasted like the inside of someone’s arse’ and effortlessly deflected heckles from the crowd and her bandmates, while Iain Cook joked that as they’re Scottish, it probably just tasted like a deep-fried Mars Bar. This light-hearted banter alongside Martin Doherty’s spectacular dancing in ‘Below the Tide’, where he took to centre stage, had the audience whipped into a frenzy by the time of the final song, ‘By the Throat.’
Returning for their encore after a deafening round of applause, Chvrches proceeded to play their summer smash, ‘The Mother We Share’, and a very familiar cover which suited Mayberry’s vocals perfectly.
Although there were a few hiccups and balance issues, overall, it was a witty and visually stunning performance, made even better by the minimal staging. If flawless synthpop is your style, then Chvrches are certainly ones for you to see live.
Debut album, The Bones of What You Believe, is available to download here.