Review: Chvrches at Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, 22 July 2018
Fresh off their performance at Splendour in the Grass, Glasgow natives CHVRCHES were back to perform their new album Love is Dead to an adoring Sydney crowd on a chilly Sunday night.
What should have been a night with dancing to songs old and new was sullied by performers coming straight from Splendour, making us wish we caught them in Byron, not the Hordern Pavillion.
Supports were Sydney’s own Mansionair and Melbourne’s Wafia, both of whom provided the perfect warm-up, with groovy and rich electro-pop. Mansionair had the crowd moving towards the end of their set with their bassy ‘Easier’.
CHVRCHES opened with an off-tune and odd sounding rendition of ‘Get Out’, to which the crowd awkwardly sung along, perhaps wishing for the sound tech to get out. After that disaster, the crowd warmed toward older songs such as ‘We Sink’. The pop-synth group eventually found their rhythm one third in with ‘Graffiti’, a track coming off their new album.
The light show was breath-taking and brought energy to the energy-loaded music of CHVRCHES. Lead singer Lauren Mayberry switched places with Martin Doherty halfway, but we almost wish she hadn’t. Doherty’s performance was slightly off, and couldn’t produce the same enchantment that Mayberry was able to put on the crowd.
Mayberry dazzled the crowd before confessing her previous discomfort in performing live. Watching her now, you wouldn’t have guessed that five years ago the thought of performing terrified her, as the group joked about ‘big dick energy’, causing Iain Cook to almost fall off his riser.
The banter included a Celine Dion sing-off, showing just how at home they feel performing after five years of playing together.
Towards the end of the night Mayberry surprised everyone by announcing that CHVRCHES donated $1 for every ticket sold to ‘Girls Rock!’, an organisation that aims to inspire girls through music education.
‘Clearest Blue’ closed the initial set and was the point where the night completely turned, with the crowd eagerly waiting for the final drop into the bridge, finally having the chance to go wild and enjoy themselves after awkward moments throughout the night.
What started out as an uncomfortable performance grew into an engaging show as the concert went on, and left one with an odd feeling that it all could’ve been so much better.