God is a woman. And her name is Lauren Mayberry.
CHVRCHES’ third date of their whistle-stop UK and Ireland tour kicked off in a blazing fire of flare at the O2 Academy Bournemouth. With loyal supporters of all ages swarming to the venue, the anticipation of eager fans created a euphoric atmosphere.
Their ‘Love Is Dead’ tour was announced in July last year in support of their third album of the same name, which was released two months earlier.
21-year-old fan Jay Segel couldn’t contain his excitement and awe whilst recounting the events of the gig. His passion when detailing the performance unfold, pretty much song by song, showed not just his love for the band, but his dedication and adoration for well-articulated and perfectly produced music. “They’ve always kept that predictable nature, but in a nice way. The verses aren’t predictable, but the choruses are – you want to have that ability to interact with your audience.” He said. “You can look around and see that people didn’t know the words to the verses, but when it came to the choruses, everyone came alive.”
And that’s exactly what happened. The audience was captured by CHVRCHES, regardless of their background, age, or anything else for that matter, united them through the medium of sound. Oh, and Lauren Mayberry’s declaration that she was wearing two pairs of cycling shorts under her skirt? That had an impact on audience engagement, too.
Aided by spectacular light displays, the former theatre and Grade II listed building wasn’t just lit up by light, it was sparked by an energy and deep relationship created in those moments between Mayberry and her admiring audience.
The lighting rig at the back of the stage lit up the entire room with its never-ending formation of dazzling illuminations, which was heavily contrasted by the depths of darkness it plunged the venue into after most songs ended. Two giant lights in the shape of an ‘x’ stood in front of musicians Iain Cook and Martin Doherty, drawing your attention to the instrumentalists rather than the instruments they were playing.
The venue had equally just as much impact on the audience as the Scottish trio. “You’ve got the boxes, you’ve got the pillars, it very much feels like an amphitheatre; it’s ornate”. Jay said. “You enter the venue and you see these beautifully rugged, red staircases going up both sides. It’s a ballroom!
“It’s so unique. I found that even at the start of the concert, it was just bustling from the beginning. There was energy and there was that buzz.”
One section that stood out for Jay, and seemingly the entire crowd, was the well-anticipated encore. Exiting the stage with two of their biggest hits still yet to be played, the jittering of uneasy yet captivated fans had nothing but keen expectation running through their veins.
“The Mother We Share, when it came on, I just looked at my mum and I was just screaming it out. ‘She’ll never keep our cold heart from falling’ – that’s what’s just so beautiful about mothers, that undying love.
“The timing, it was surreal. I couldn’t believe the perfection. That was why it hit me so hard, because everything stopped for a moment. Time stopped, and I just sang the lyrics. I was there, and it was if I was talking to them.”