The last time Chvrches played Columbus, it was a sold-out outdoor LC Pavilion show, the largest crowd the band had played to stateside as a headliner.
Photos by Brad Keefe/Columbus Alive
The last time Chvrches played Columbus, it was a sold-out outdoor LC Pavilion show - one of CD102.5's signature "Low Dough Shows" - the largest crowd the band had played to stateside as a headliner. That night ended in rain, a lightning show and an ecstatic crowd.
Last night, the synth-pop trio from Scotland returned to the LC for another packed and ecstatic crowd, albeit an indoor one. The fickleness of Columbus weather being what it is, the indoor scheduling made sense, but given the surprisingly gorgeous October weather and the lack of elbow room and good sightlines of a crowded indoor LC show, it would have been a great night for a repeat outdoor show.
No matter, as singer Lauren Mayberry and bandmates Iain Cook and Martin Doherty effectively took the roof off anyway.
I've found you can learn a lot about a band from their pre-set playlist. Chvrches' mix ran from Run the Jewels to Nick Cave to "Rebel Girl" by Bikini Kill (apropos to Mayberry's noted no-bullshit feminist stances and a damn fine warm-up song). These influences are a nice cross-section of the band's deceptively layered pop, catchy but conscientious, bubble-gum bouncy but tinged with Glasgow melancholy.
Celebrating her 28th birthday, Mayberry twirled and prowled her way through an hour-plus set that left the sardine-packed crowd downright rapturous. Her voice is small when speaking to the crowd, but massive when it needs to be while singing. Cook and Doherty flanked the singer on (slightly) raised platforms, synthing and popping through a set that was evenly divided between the band's breakout album, 2013's The Bones of What You Believe, and their even-better new release, Every Open Eye. The set got a strong visual assist from a warm bath of a fantastic lightshow heavy on the blue and magenta.
The band's encore came with a welcome cool-down, the lovely ambience of Close Every Eye's closing track "Afterglow," before launching into the band's biggest hit to date, "The Mother We Share," and the expected group singalong.
Let's hope we meet Chvrches again soon, hopefully under the stars.