Live Review: CHVRCHES w/ Mansionair @ Margaret Court Arena – 23.07.2018
After a few setbacks and much anticipation, Scottish band CHVRCHES finally made their way from Sydney to Melbourne after playing at Splendour in the Grass to perform last night at Margaret Court Arena. During the day, one of the tour buses broke down, meaning that the set times had to be pushed back and unfortunately opening band Wafia were dropped from the gig to save time.
While doors were supposed to open around 7:30pm, it was 8:50pm by the time fans were let inside the venue. However, spirits were still high (and a little tipsy) as the crowd poured their way into the arena.
Mansionair were on right away, before most people could even find their seat. The three-piece performed a flawless set, with breathtaking vocals from frontman Jack Froggatt. The crowd was responsive, singing along where they could and cheering the trio on. The percussion was most impressive, with great use of samples and shakers, and an electric drum kit which gave each song a nice clean, sharp beat. Mansionair’s stage presence was truly entertaining, with each member giving their all to their role and encouraging the crowd to sing and dance with them. The response to Mansionair was positive, as they left the crowd wanting to see more.
Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for. At 10:00pm, CHVRCHES took to the stage. Kicking off the show with Get Out followed by Gun, the band started out strong. After the second song, lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry addressed the issues that had taken place that day. “One of the buses carrying all of this stuff broke down somewhere between Sydney and Melbourne, so I’m gonna talk a whole lot less tonight and we’re just gonna play as many songs as we can until curfew,” she said as they jumped straight into their song, Bury It.
The lighting was remarkable, with a backdrop of lights from top to bottom on stage, that would change colour depending on the song and kept in time with the beats. The lighting heightened the performance and filled the stage, complimenting Mayberry’s energy.
There were a few technical issues that were quickly resolved and almost unnoticeable, but whether it be the tech issues or the difficult day that had ensued, the band seemed to be thrown off slightly. As the set went on, however, it felt as though they were able to let that go and focus on the performance.
Around halfway through the set, Martin Doherty took over lead vocals for two songs, God’s Plan and Under the Tide. His energy was refreshing and this seemed to be the moment that the vibe really changed in the arena. Fans were getting a little more energetic and the band seemed more comfortable. Doherty’s vocals were really raw and his stage presence was infectious.
The next song was the latest single Miracle off their most recent album Love is Dead. The energy in the room was at its highest as the crowd let loose and chanted the lyrics. A few songs later, they closed the set with Clearest Blue before coming back for two encores and ending the night with Never Say Die.
With only fifteen songs, including encores, the set felt incredibly short, and overall the show felt quite inconsistent. After the events of the day and a few tech issues, the band seemed a bit tired (we don’t blame them!), and there were a couple awkward moments. However, despite all of this, the show went on and CHVRCHES gave a solid performance once the set picked up. Mayberry’s vocals were on point and the trio interacted well together, especially given that they have now added a live drummer, which they didn’t have last time they were in Australia. This changed their dynamics quite a bit but added a nice fresh sound into the works which gave them a bit more oomph. The crowd remained in good spirits despite the late start and everyone left singing and satisfied!
See the fully gallery from the night HERE.
Photos by Kyleigh Pitcher