Not many bands can turn biting lyrics like “I’ll be a thorn in your side, ’til you die” into catchy, synthpop dance numbers. Then again, perhaps that’s what makes CHVRCHES pack such a heavyweight in the overcrowded ring of pop; sharp, punching bass lines done with a smile. On just the second UK date of their Every Open Eye Tour, CHVRCHES took to the O2 Academy Bristol to give a sold-out crowd a night of frantic fun.
Opening with album starter Never Ending Circles, the trio confidently took to the stage amidst a backdrop of chaotic lights. Frontwoman Lauren Mayberry strutted across the stage with seemingly never ending enthusiasm, showcasing vocals that are far more powerful than the records would lead you to believe. Her stage presence was enchanting both when singing and when not; leading conversations with the crowd that went from slut-shaming in Cats to jaegerbombs at the aquarium. Playing Dead saw the start of Mayberry’s drumming ability, which if anything could have been utilised more in songs such as Science/Visions. Through hyped up bass lines and explosions of synth, tunes like Tether were given a fresh kick of life that can only be experienced live.
Under the Tide saw Martin Doherty step away from his keyboards and samplers and prove his own impressive ability as a frontman, even with slight timing slip-ups that were only slightly more noticeable than Mayberry tripping over a water bottle earlier on. Each member of the band seemed electric themselves; Bury It proved the ability of the band to expertly sync together in en-pointe vocal harmonies. Indeed, pre-recorded vocals were only truly noticeable in Leave a Trace, which is no small feat for an electronic act. Song changes could have been made slicker with some live mixing, but spontaneity was still allowed to seep through in the occasional outro.
Finishing with Afterglow and hit The Mother We Share, the audience was left itching to see where this triumphant trio will go next.