Concert Review: Still Corners, CHVRCHES @ The Hoxton, Toronto, Canada
I think PeteHatesMusic has far exceeded its quota for CHVRCHES content for 2013. We covered their first ever Canadian show back in March (and gave them a healthy 9/10 review). We then interviewed Lauren, Martin, and Iain the next day. Their album is slated for September, but the immense buzz surrounding the band means they are back after less than three months, with one new single to their name.
Yes, we probably should’ve been covering NXNE Wednesday night, but come on – it’s CHVRCHES! As tempted as I was to copy / paste my March review and update a few details, I’ve decided to give you a proper review of CHVRCHES and openers Still Corners.
The last CHVRCHES concert had Toronto’s new darlings, DIANA, open for them. This time, it was the London, England group Still Corners, who are playing a free show at 3pm on Friday at Urban Outfitters (Queen St W) by the way.
They came out to a Daft Punk / Get Lucky-esque sunset video in the background, and had video projections throughout the set. The first song, like most songs, was synth heavy. Not in your face synth, but more sustained notes. It also featured an invisible shaker. I saw the guy vigorously shaking his right hand, but I could not hear it for the life of it. This made it look rather hilarious, like some new, terrible way of dancing (unlike my old, terrible way of dancing).
Singer Tessa Murray wore a shimmering silver jacket and an oft pouty gaze that she must’ve spent hours perfecting in a mirror.
The band played recent single, Berlin Lovers, which the crowd generally recognized and cheered as it started it. Still Corners got stronger as the set went on. They moved from tapable, head bobbing synth songs to more textured and layered songs. It was a pleasant set, despite not having super catchy songs.
Glasgow’s CHVRCHES followed, and immediately got things pumping with their hit track, Lies. Singer Lauren Mayberry, mainly because of her small stature, often strikes me as timid and scared. However, unlike when I first saw them, she exuded the kind of confidence that comes with tour experience (or lots of reviews commenting on lack of stage presence). Mayberry was more engaging and mobile, instead of standing still and twirling the mic chord in her hands (although she did a little bit of that). She was rocking out and dancing towards the end of the set. What a difference 3 months and dozens of shows can make.
CHVRCHES were grateful for the crowd to come to their show when they know there’s another festival going on (some North by Northeast thingy?). After playing Now is Not the Time, the band also noted that this was their first Canadian date for this tour, and tomorrow is their day off. They had a discussion about Canada’s Wonderland, with Lauren not knowing it was a theme park, and Martin keen on attending. Perhaps they’d like to come for beers (or Irn-Bru) at my place? T The last time we hung out, I gave them gifts (although toques might be a little warm now).
Speaking of warm, fuck was it ever hot at the Hoxton. I know it’s an indoor gig in a small venue in June, but come on! Lauren even commented on this.
For a few of the new tracks, Iain Cook backed away from the synth and went at it on the bass. The band also played new single, Gun, and followed the song with another discussion about going to Canada’s Wonderland on their day off on Thursday. The band seemed at ease and engaged in banter that was not present in their March show.
Some of the new songs are going to be huge. They pack powerful vocal choruses with synth pop explosions to compliment Lauren’s vocals. What’s not to like?
Near the end of the set, the Hoxton finally got the hint and started pumping cool air through the venue. I hope my tweet had something to do with this. You’re welcome.
— Pete! (@PeteHatesMusic) June 13, 2013
Towards the end of the set, the band played Recover, and the crowd bobbed even more than usual. Okay, they did more than bob – they danced, dammit! Lauren’s vocals were almost TOO loud during the chorus, but the crowd didn’t seem to care, clearly loving the fan favourite.
Martin Doherty sang a new track from the record, and brought some high high energy during the chorus. Martin was clearly feeling the music, frantically waving his arms and feeling the groove. The crowd would’ve felt foolish to not reciprocate this energy level, and danced to the unfamiliar new song.
As Lauren announced the 12th track would be their final song, some people in the crowd booed. Lauren replied “Don’t boo! We played a whole bunch of songs!” They capped off their set with their excellent track, The Mother We Share.
The tracks are pretty faithful to the studio version, with a little more noise and higher tempo at some parts, and with Lauren’s vocals being top notch. The band did a good job of sprinkling new and unfamiliar tracks with ‘old’ (less than a year – holy Internet band!) hits. Their new record seems promising.
Despite the boos, the band came out for a one-song hour, covering Prince’s I Would Die 4 U. Another excellent set from the Scots – enjoy your day off! If you’re not one of the 1000+ people who have watched our interview with the band, you can do so below (apologies for the poor audio quality at times).
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PHM Rating for Still Corners: 8.0 out of 10
PHM Rating for CHVRCHES: 9.0 out of 10
PeteHatesMusic Interview CHVRCHES