Saying a welcome prayer as CHVRCHES return

CHVRCHES bring their Screen Violence tour home to Scotland

It has been so long since I stepped through a music venue’s doors.

As the stewards scanned my ticket, the usual rush of anticipation passed through my body and I entered the auditorium at the O2 Academy Edinburgh.

The lights dimmed, the smoke billowed bringing forth that familiar smell, the first chord struck and all eyes were on the stage. I was home: my happy place, my first live music show in two-and-a-half
years. And what a return it was.

As CHVRCHES took to the stage to the roaring welcome of the crowd the music kicked into the twinkling synth notes of He Said She Said, the first single taken from their newest album Screen Violence.

This was the perfect promise of what was to come: big notes, haunting vocals, flawlessly laid synths and relatable messages as frontwoman Lauren Mayberry bounced and twirled her way from one end of the stage to the other making sure to sing to all fans in the audience.

Mayberry’s vocals soared through the auditorium, filling every nook and cranny, especially as the band played How Not to Drown – a song about keeping your head above the flood while feeling like you’re drowning in whatever it is that’s overwhelming you. It was comforting to hear Mayberry’s Scottish accent creeping in as she sang the verses, before she effortlessly flew into the chorus sending goosebumps rushing down my arms.

The night was one of great music, but also one filled with slick production and outstanding visuals.

Glasgow had unfortunately missed out on the big screen backdrop, but it was back in action on Monday night bringing that edgy, glitchy Screen Violence aesthetic. Coupled with the fitting costume changes, it was a masterpiece of paired music and visuals.

Returning for the encore, the lights were very low; a silhouetted Mayberry stood centre stage, arms raised. From my vantage point I thought some form of metallic tendrils had been painted up her arms from her fingertips by how the light glinted on its surfaces – something akin to what you would expect on a cyborg or the Terminator. But, as the lights came up it was revealed to be blood (fake of course) – a symbol of the battles a lot of people endure and survive through a screen.

More poignantly a symbol of the battles endured and survived by Mayberry herself through her years fronting the band and receiving threats of sexual violence and death. I guess you could say that Mayberry became and embodied the ‘final girl’ depicted in the earlier performance of the same name.

CHVRCHES have a way of making you feel and relate to every song they perform and I enjoyed every minute, no matter if Mayberry quipped and introduced the song with, ‘and here’s another depressing song’. Their songs may bring a heavy weight, but never do you feel a straining burden under the song’s meaning, more so a liberating relief at how they are artfully proffered.

At the close of the show CHVRCHES expressed their gratitude that everyone shared their Monday night with them. The band may have been going for 10 years, but the crowd, judging by their reaction, had no intentions to stop coming out to see them.

If I could spend every Monday night like this, the week would be off to a great start.