The Lifestyle Community Pavilion was once again filled shoulder to shoulder Wednesday night as hundreds of fans gathered to pay homage to the electro-pop triad of musicians from Scotland. Otherwise known as Chvrches.
Making a remarkably humble entrance, Chvrches’ lone opener, Mansionair, took over by bringing a stellar and highly emotional performance. The band — from Sydney, Australia — was a simple three piece group that brought impressively complex melodies.
The band used conventional instruments to deliver an oftentimes deceptively more electronic sound than would be expected. The controlled, yet incredibly powerful percussion, thundered out a beat that fell almost seamlessly between tribal and militaristic.
The set’s stand out songs were their two singles “Hold Me Down” and “Speak Easy.” Soaring high vocals, meteoric instrumentals and an outstandingly minimalist stage presence coalesced into a raw and impassioned performance.
After a suspenseful lull in the musical action, two platforms outfitted with sleek lighting, synths, computers, drums and bass guitars were moved onto the previously empty stage — between them, a single microphone. Minutes later the arrival of the headliner was heralded by monumental synth and a dynamic visualization of abstract colors and shapes.
There was nothing deceptive about the almost entirely synthesized and decidedly electronic sound of Chvrches. This fact was audibly present even in the moments before lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry lifted the microphone.
Another three member outfit, the band is also composed of the synth players Iain Cook, and Martin Doherty. Each of them contribute multi-instrumental structure to the set, as well as vocals.
Chvrches, which recently released a new album titled “Every Open Eye,” was quick to showcase its updated setlist. The group opened with the new single “Never Ending Circles” and featured melodic synth in songs like “Make Them Gold” and “Empty Threat.” Mayberry’s high and light vocals glided over the bass heavy, yet strikingly playful, melodies.
Dynamic lighting and visual effects were spectacularly coordinated with the instrumentally electronic nature of the music to produce a captivating stage presence.
The raw emotion and dreamlike sound of songs like “Afterglow” and “Science/Visions” formed both heavier and slower slots in the set. These moods contrasted heavily with the combative and immediately violent sounds of “Bury It” and “Lies.” Songs were combative not only in lyrics but in the sharp, harsh melodies that defined their tone.
However, these two styles found harmony within the dance-infused electro-pop of “Clearest Blue” and “Under The Tide.” The latter being the only song performed with Doherty’s lead vocals.
The show took place on Mayberry’s birthday, a coincidence that brought much enthusiasm to the performance. About halfway through the show the crowd affectionately sang Mayberry “Happy Birthday.”
The performance ended with an encore featuring the incredibly popular song, “The Mother We Share,” off the band’s album, “The Bones of What You Believe.” It was a song that perfectly captured Chvrches’ centerpiece style of playful electro-pop and somehow maintained trancelike elements dripping with emotion.