Image All is Amazing
It’s easy to take a cue from their religiously stylised band name to make witty (hardly) remarks about CHVRCHES’ nearly faultless performance that occurred on a Wednesday night. However, the puns stop here.
It’s no brainer that the dark wave of +2dB opened for the Glaswegian synth band, although weirdly they were told to do a DJ set instead of playing live. From behind the high decks, it seemed as though we’re back at our 12th Anniversary party where the two ladies dropped jersey and future r’n’b choons. But the revved up excitement was a bit dampened by the unnecessarily drawn out wait before CHVRCHES would finally come on.
Nevertheless, under the cover of darkness, the three Scots stationed themselves at their designated spots. Lauren Mayberry, being the frontwoman and lead singer, had allowed herself the liberty of performance real estate. Her wispy frame, along with the wind blowing off stage, made her look ethereal and pixie-like as her blouse and hair bellowed. The men, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty, however, were both corporally blocked behind their machineries. They were not deterred as they convulsed quite violently to their own shape shifting electronic output. Their dancing only seemed to register as bodily signals to the audience to follow suit. The crowd complied.
If you’ve cleverly ignored the time stamp on the promotional posters, don’t fret about not being able to see the onstage action because you’ll be able to see it all through the variety of five-inch screens that flashed across the heads of your fellow attendees. Not until the third song, the ridiculously infectious ‘Lungs’, did they acknowledge their local fans who supplied plenty of complimentary roars and cheers. After ‘Guns’, the tone swerved to much shadier terrain as CHVRCHES took on ‘Night Sky’ and especially ‘Science/Visions’, which introduced hefty sonic drama and theatre as thunderous effects and masculine vocal backing evoked a dystopian film score (a bonus track for the Mockingjay soundtrack, perhaps?)
The tone of the performance was then settled down by the sombre ballad ‘Tether’ before Martin Doherty took the reins from Mayberry for ‘Under the Tide’. Though comparatively lacking in the singing department, Doherty made it up by his physically impassioned jerking and endearing awkward motions that can be misinterpreted as symptoms of Tourette’s. Some would say that the quality of the sound system that day was sub-par, but personally speaking, it just added to the effect of their synthesisers-reliant sound. ‘The Mother We Share’ wrapped up their consistent set, but everyone did not want it to end. Booming cries for an encore exploded almost immediately as their hit song finished.
CHVRCHES were met with elated cheers as the trio scampered onto the stage once again for ‘You Caught the Light’. The bass reverberating through the arena was relentless. Each time the bass dragged, it was excruciating as your throat and ear drums literally shuddered at the wake of it. The band went into the chorus and the discomfort alleviated. The crowd took a liking to ‘Dead Air’, the actual song from The Hunger Games soundtrack and CHVRCHES chose ‘By the Throat’ as the final song to ring in the ears of their fans whose devotion to the band was, dare we say it, cultish.
Urbanscapes Satellite Show with CHVRCHES went down on Wednesday 19 November ’14.
More photos here.