You have to really love a band if you’re willing to brave Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium. After smacking into closed parking garage and after closed parking garage, walking several blocks, and getting hit on by drunk USC students, concert-goers must brace themselves for the 6, 000+ seated venue that offers shitty acoustics and absolutely no dance floor.
Needless to say, I was cranky by the time I walked into the Shrine only to hear a warped version of Chvrches’ opening number, “Never Ending Circles” off new album, Every Eye Open. Pushed into the the tippy top nosebleeds of the massive theater, the vocals sounded pitchy and slightly off-kilter with the zipping keyboards and flashing light show.
A long time fan of Chvrches, I know they’re expert live performers. So I did what any real fan would: Went down to the main floor and stole an empty seat a few rows from the front. And oh what a difference it made.
I had a prime view when the synth-pop trio broke into “Make Them Gold, ” the shiny, pop-positive anthem from their latest album. Bright bursts of aptly colored gold flashes lit up the stage as Lauren Mayberry flawlessly promised, “We are falling, but not alone.”
Whether they needed a few songs to adapt to the Shrine’s infamously poor sound system or just sounded remarkably different on the ground floor, I’ll never know. But from there on, the trio executed a near-perfect set, with thousands on their feet, making the most of the seat space to move to the music.
Mayberry warned the crowd that she was feeling a little under the weather, but you wouldn’t have known otherwise. She performed with more energy than I’ve ever seen—I’m a big fan, remember?—ending “Keep You On My Side” with a jump kick, thwacking away at the drums during “Empty Threat” and twirling around the stage during the oh-so-fun “Bury It.” Martin Doherty gave Mayberry a run for her money, with his impressive dance moves during “Under the Tide.”
Although most of the night was filled with fast-paced tunes, “Tether” offered a rare moment of vulnerability from Mayberry, as she crooned “I feel incapable of saying its over” before the song rose to a frenzied electronic blast.
The trio closed out the night with “The Mother We Share, ” a favorite from their 2013 album The Bones of What You Believe In. The crowd poured into the aisles dancing, while making their way toward the exit to beat the mass rush of thousands of satisfied fans.
Never Ending Circles
Keep You on My Side
Make Them Gold
Under the Tide
Leave a Trace
The Mother We Share