Review: Chvrches at the Majestic Ventura Theater
Glasgow Electro-Pop Act Dazzled Sold-Out Crowd on April 14
First-time anythings are usually good, but first band tours are always the best. We liberally apply this particular truism to Chvrches, a band that arrived as if invented by contemporary radio. Catchy as they may be, Chvrches’ debut, The Bones of What You Believe, is packed with enough creative embellishments to create one lovely psychedelic techno universe, the kind that invites immersions, where applicable. On Wednesday, the Glasgow trio arrived (post-Coachella) at a sold-out Majestic Ventura Theater mostly on target and seemingly unspoiled. Blissful raptures ensued, though the trippy-ness was subsumed by the band’s dancier side.
Opening with “We Sink,” an anthem to perishing, set the evening mood to bittersweet. Singer Lauren Mayberry immediately leaned into her microphone and made beautiful note-singing seem easy. This was all the more important since opener Austra, a Canadian indie fantasy outfit featuring another dazzling female singer, left the crowd in awe (if not puzzlement) with cascades of coloratura yips. But Mayberry has a better band behind her and a fantastic debut album from which to cull. She followed the blue-tinted opening number with what ought to be deemed the car-listening song of the year, “Lies.” Throughout, Mayberry remained central but not diva-ish; she was charmingly low-key with not much more patter beyond the “Thanks, guys” that she said after a thunderous applause, though she nearly killed the buzz by wondering aloud if this was where Katy Perry was from. It cleared up obvious influences Santa Barbara’s pop queen has on Glasgow’s, but the crowd seemed a bit pouty about the slight geographical goof.
Still, Mayberry is not what you would call a big performer, and she spent most of Wednesday’s show sweetly framed — if not covered by — her band’s light show and enormous sound. Midway through, though, she found her footing in the sonic space with “Science/Visions” and a move that resembled a drum majorette pumping the mike. Six more songs and the crowd was putty in her hands.