CHVRCHES brings synthpop and strobelights to Toronto

Synthpop, spastic dancing, strobe lights, and screaming fans? You must be at a CHVRCHES concert.

The dance synthpop band from Scotland, led by Lauren Mayberry; Martin Doherty, who runs synthesisers and samplers; and guitarist and bassist Iain Cook, sold out two shows at the Danforth Music Hall on Oct. 4 and 5. The band showed no signs of fatigue for the second Toronto date, giving a great, energetic performance.

Mansionair, a three-piece band from Sydney, Australia, took the stage first. They played a short but mindblowing set, with perfect vocals and passion, that included their new song “Speak Easy”, which was released in the beginning of September. Lead singer, Jack Froggatt, freely moved around the stage, comparing the audience to Australians when he said he felt so at home.

Some time after the opening set, the venue went dark and strobe lights flashed around the room. Doherty and Cook took their places on each side of the stage, as Mayberry’s dark silhouette appeared. The opening to “Never Ending Circles,” the first song off their new album, Open Every Eye, filled the music hall. Fans went crazy, singing along even though the album had only been released on Sept. 25.


Photo by Josie Mills

The trio was dressed in all black, with Mayberry sporting a sparkly crop top and dancing around the stage, twirling and whipping around the microphone cord. They played a great mix of their two albums, alternating between fan favourites and new releases. There was a strong sense of crowd interaction, especially when Doherty took the stage for “We Sink,” jumping around and inviting the audience to yell the lyrics back at him.

CHVRCHES ended the show with two encore songs: a ballad, “Afterglow,” and the song that launched them into the scene, “Mother We Share.”

The band has grown so much since their debut in 2011. During the concert, Mayberry mentioned how early audiences were surprised when shows finished abruptly after only 10 songs. Now, they have two albums and 35 shows between now and February 2016 across the United States, Europe, and Australia. If every show is like Toronto’s, the world is in for a real treat.

Featured image by Kmeron / CC BY