CHVRCHES @ SSE Hydro, Glasgow, 16 Feb

CHVRCHES give it everything tonight at their biggest hometown headline show to date, with their gusto and the catchiness of their tunes making up for poor sound quality

Live Review by Lewis Wade | 20 Feb 2019

Let's Eat Grandma's profile has risen massively since the release of I'm All Ears last summer, made clear by the number of people willing to give them some time early on tonight. The two childhood friends are somewhat dwarfed by the massive stage they find themselves on, but they make the most of the space, whether pacing from side to side or going limp in a doll-like catatonic state that seems to mimic the more twee edges of their music. Overall, it's still a bit too much space for their sound to fill, but epic closer Donnie Darko gives it a good shot.

Anticipation is high by the time CHVRCHES enter and they've managed to gather a lot of hometown goodwill over the past few years of their rapid ascent. Local references pepper the evening, with plenty of nostalgia about "chips and hame", ubiquitous "here we fucking go" chants and Lauren Mayberry trying Buckie for the first time (to unsurprising disgust, though she's polite about it).

Three albums in and CHVRCHES really feel like they have the tunes to fill a 90+ minute set without having to rely on any filler. The night is obviously heavy on songs fromĀ Love Is Dead, but there's a healthy smattering of stuff from the first two albums as well, which makes the distinction between their recent pop inclinations and the earlier indie-synth very clear (see: Get Out and Graffiti vs. Gun and We Sink).

The whole band give it everything throughout, with Mayberry's Kate Bush twirls and Martin Doherty's helicopter arms being almost permanent fixtures, but the sound quality is noticeably more garbled than it has been in the past. The vocals seem to be pushed too far forward, leaving the arrangements sounding a little gloopy, especially compared to the sharp delineation that comes through on the immacutely polished studio production. However, gusto and catchiness generally make up for this, and when there are hits like Recover, Clearest Blue and The Mother We Share to bring out towards the end, there aren't very many disappointed fans.