Chvrches played a blinding gig at the Olympia in Dublin last night.was there to review it.
Pop and pathos collided headlong as Chvrches delivered an electro-fuelled sermon to a room heaving with true believers. It proved a bracing and emotion-drenched evening, the Glasgow band’s mix of indie confessional and club-adjacent floor-fillers landing to maximum impact.
The bittersweet punch was courtesy of Lauren Mayberry and her sad cyberpunk vocals. As a front-woman she combines several contradictory qualities. Mayberry projects bottomless vulnerability on synthetic barnstormers such as Miracle.
But she can also rock with abandon, as demonstrated by the slow-mosh of Recover and The Mother We Share. Here huge swells of angst crashed downwards, Mayberry a shining presence amid the tumult.
A bouquet of blokey bonhomie was meanwhile contributed by baseball cap wearing Martin Doherty on God’s Plan and Under The Tide. These were miserabalist epics located somewhere between Morrissey’s bedsit and Chris Martin’s meditation pod and a reminder the best pop exists in that grey era dividing euphoria and devastation.
Chvrches were following last year’s triumph on the Electric Picnic main stage with their first Irish headline gig in five years. They certainly appreciated the reception, though Mayberry had some thoughts regrading the preponderance of male artists whose images adorned their dressing rooms.
Perhaps, she wondered, it was time for a few more females to grace the gallery? She later shared a funny story about her compulsive social media habits, which once led her to respond to a fan’s tweet mid show. Juxtaposed with the music’s heightened angst, her sometimes folksy banter struck a welcome note of irreverence.
A searing gig had the best possible curtain raiser in Let’s Eat Grandma, electro pop best pals from Norfolk whose music blends Eighties Casio pop and Wickerman-esque rural-gothic. In short, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth thrilled but were slightly terrifying with it. They jumped, they wriggled on the floor, they made scary robot faces. And if the audience was clearly here to worship Chvrches the cheeky and ethereal support act will have picked up a few acolytes too.