Live review: CHVRCHES, THUMPERS at ABC, 10/10/13

_MG_5895-2It has been suggested that CHVRCHES popularity has came too quickly, that the latest band to be born on the internet haven’t quite adapted to playing to the massive crowds they’ve been thrust into; but tonight is different, this is a homecoming gig and their biggest headline one to date, it’s bound to create certain amounts of pressure albeit with rivalled amount of sheer elation.

CHVRCHES aren’t ones to let the pressure show and as they slide into opener ‘We Sink’ they’re cool and collected as the trio’s immaculate synth hooks combine with singer Lauren Mayberry’s fragile yet souring, and distinctly Scottish, vocals to capture the attention of tonight sold out show.

Before the hotly anticipated headliners there’s the no small matter of one of Sub Pop’s latest signings in London duo THUMPERS, who bring a full band with backing vocalist along for the ride on their full tour support slot.

To the hoards sauntering into the ever filling ballroom eager to hear their hometown’s latest big thing this London duo may, on immediate judgement, seem a touch bland but given a few songs to get into the swing of things their lively alt pop can’t help but spring into your step.

It may be a bit early for THUMPERS to be playing rooms of this size, their music does seem to suggest a youthful exuberance but like most support acts they don’t really grasp the audience and pull them in, in fact they neglect to even tell us who they are so anyone not wondering over to the merch stand may never learn of them, well at least not yet.

For now we’ll have to wait for their debut release, but odds are they’ll pick up a few fans playing to the size of crowds Glasgow’s latest darlings are bringing in.

Like I mentioned earlier, one thing that has been said of CHVRCHES is that they maybe haven’t quite caught up with their popularity into performing live, this may be partly down Mayberry’s slightly uneasy interactions with audiences or Martin Doherty’s (synth, samples, vocals) strong Glaswegian twang, however tonight they seem at ease chatting away to a crowd surely full of familiar faces.


It’s not the chat that everyone came here for though it’s for the trio’s instantly accessible ear candy that swoops in and has you bobbing along with assured ease.

The early internet releases that became singles are, as would be expected, among the highlights as third track ‘Gun’ sees the tempo upped and Mayberry’s cutting lyrics and saccharin delivery send the crowd into a giddy haze.

Any hometown show wouldn’t be complete without memories of the venue you’re in, and in the ABC holds many a memory of raucous and merry nights out in the younger moments of most in attendances adulthoods and it certainly does for Mayberry, as she reveals crying in the toilets after a few to many Jagerbombs and her ex boyfriend’s “wandering hands”, although she does deny being sick n the dance floor after Doherty’s suggestion.

The set draws heavily from their debut album, The Bones of What You Believe, which after the blogosphere catapulted them into the limelight hoisted them into the mainstream with its forward thinking take on electronic music and powerful capability to stick in your head, and each track is delivered with a drive and passion fitting of the two times sold out ABC.

Doherty takes a turn on the mic for ‘Science, Visions’ and the baseball capped former live Twilight Sad member gives us the most energetic performance of the night as he strides across the stage in a buoyant confident sense that couldn’t be further from Mayberry’s cool, calm and collected deliveries.

The jagged synths of ‘The Mother We Share’ give the trio possibly their first chance at encore in front of a hometown crowd, at least in this band that is, and they return for a shimmeringly cool cover of Whitney Houston’s ‘It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay’ and then end on the soaring ‘By The Throat’.

All in all, day one of the two sold of days at the ABC has gone without a blip and will leave many people going out running to grab tickets to see what these guys have to deliver at the legendary Barras in March.

more photos

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Jayjay Robertson


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