Review: Chvrches at White Oak Music Hall, Houston, 09/11/2021

In the end there was blood. The fake type, of course, but the blood is the same. Wearing a T-shirt and shorts, and (fake) blood covering her arms, Lauren Mayberry was the last girl she was worried about earlier on the set. But this was the last girl undefeated, the one who not only got away, but made sure that whatever was chasing after her wouldn’t come back.

The aesthetic climax was for a show at White Oak Music Hall that was already a musical winner. Since their first tours, Chvrches have always been a solid business, but with the addition of a drummer on their last few tours, they’ve become a great live band. Not only is it the energy that live drums bring to the table, it’s the freedom that all of the band members feel right now.

This is no longer content for a band to stand behind their electronics, performing a perfect recreation of their studio material. Lots of new material from the shreds of screen violence; Not in the sense of “playing as many notes as possible”, but in the “complex, speed-of-treatment” way of playing. That’s fine because the ’80s gothic/new wave guitar sound is the greatest guitar sound of all time.

While not all old physical rocks are challenging, some old tunes have gotten a welcome update. The highlight mid-set was a fierce shot at “Sciences/Visions” that she felt could create actual electric arcs on stage from the power of her performance. And while “Recover” and “The Mother We Share” might not have the same weight, they kept their newer tracks.

Click to enlarge

Violetta Alvarez pictures

It appears that a decade later, the Chvrches have reached their final, perfect shape. They are equally adept at drawing laughter because they generate tears, and they create a show that can feel heavy without feeling burdensome. The song says, “There’s one last girl and you know she should scream.” But perhaps that cry should be a cry of victory.

personal bias: I don’t have the heart of a poet. I am drawn to songs that are direct and easy to understand. I will never understand what “the mother we share” is about. I just know every time I hear it my heart smiles.

crowd: Perhaps this was just my imagination, but I certainly felt that the crowd was giving each other a little more space than usual, given recent events.

Heard in the crowd: I won’t reveal any details because I don’t want anyone to find out how you really feel, but if you hate your job so much, you should find a new one. No one should feel that resentful on a show night.

Random notebook dump: I officially “cramp my leg trying to climb stairs after standing for a few hours” years ago.

So how was the editorial: Donna Misal Made a lot of new fans last night. She has a powerful voice that makes her stand out in the world of modern pop music. She has a second gear that she can hit so many singers would kill her.


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