Photos were taken by Nancy Hoang. You can see more of them and read her take on the show at CMJ.com.
Sunday is the day many people go to church in the morning, but this Sunday it was all about CHVRCHES at night instead. The Scottish electro-pop trio were closing out their North American tour at NYC's Terminal 5, and they definitely ended things on a positive note.
The night was opened up by XXYYXX, who at the age of just 17 is already making a name for himself in the music world. Admittedly, ambient house music is by no means my scene, so I will leave it to better-informed people to give their opinion. The crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves though, so he must have been doing alright. Though the fact that the show was sold out left little (and by little I mean none) room for dancing, which is less than ideal for a dance music show. But all in all, the kid's going places and keep an eye out for him to do big things soon.
CHVRCHES hit the stage at 9 and launched straightaway into "We Sink," off of their new debut album, The Bones of What You Believe. The lack of dancing space made everyone a little sad, I'm sure. But the music is as infectiously happy as music could be, so there was nothing to worry about.
The synths were played enthusiastically by Martin Doherty and Iain Cook (who also played guitar on a song or two). They danced as much as one could while operating several synths and pads while lights of various colors flashed blindingly in all directions. Kudos to them. Frontwoman Lauren Mayberry sang her heart out, and when given the chance to, danced an endearing combination of fist-pumping and running in place.
The songs were broken up with brief bits of crowd interaction, including Mayberry's creepily accurate impersonation of a jawa, as well as having her light-up microphone stand replaced by a normal one because she felt as though it was too much like holding a lightsaber. This was also the concert with the most Star Wars references I have ever attended.
The band was excited to tell everyone that this was their largest headlining show ever, and it certainly felt like a big one. The very idea of moving around much was next to impossible. They closed their set with their big single off of their album, "The Mother We Share," which the crowd seemed to appreciate quite a bit. They emerged from backstage again for an encore, playing "By the Throat." It was a short set, running only slightly more than an hour, but as the band said, it was only because they didn't have any more songs. They seemed sorry they couldn't offer us more, but were very appreciative, telling us "thanks for giving a shit" as Mayberry said.
CHVRCHES may only have one album and an EP, but if they're starting off this strong then there's plenty good ahead for them. And that's lucky for us too, because we'll be waiting to see them again. Hopefully with more room to dance next time though.
You can get The Bones of What You Believe on iTunes now.