Sunday night, CHVRCHES played their first of two sold-out nights at the Riviera Theatre. The Scottish synthpop band has been on a hot streak ever since the release of their sophomore LP, “Every Open Eye,” in Sept. 2015, completing tours in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia before returning back to the states for more shows. After being a band for the better part of five years, they’ve really hit their stride now, and are becoming a hotter and hotter act each day.
As soon as the first bass notes of opener “Never Ending Circles” hit, the Chicago crowd knew they were in for a great night. Iain Cook and Martin Doherty banged away at their synthesizer set-ups, bookended at each end of the stage, while Lauren Mayberry pumped the mic into the air and twirled around. What followed was a set filled with a good mix of songs from their latest album and their 2013 debut, “The Bones of What You Believe.” Each song was set to a very impressive lights set-up, with three tall screens behind each band member’s position flashing graphics and visuals.
While the band was all business during the songs, that didn’t mean they weren’t having as much fun as the audience. They took frequent breaks in between songs to indulge in some banter; topics included pun-making skills, salty Vietnamese food and being Justin Bieber’s emotional rock in a dream. Mayberry also did not hesitate to take a dig at a certain presidential candidate while talking about their love for the city (“Chicago loves CHVRCHES, not Trump”), which received one of the loudest cheers of the night.
To repay the city for their support, CHVRCHES decided to do something special; premiere a song they had never performed live before. Doherty took to certain stage and took over lead vocals for the song “High Enough To Carry You Over” off their latest album. This was followed by “Under the Tide,” which is always a highlight of their shows due to Doherty’s passionate dance moves and the crowd’s enthusiastic response. The band closed their main set with “Clearest Blue,” a new song that features an intense buildup that leads into a bombastic drop with a Depeche Mode-esque synth line. The drop was met with a huge crowd response, with some audience members even hopping onto their friends’ shoulders to dance around.
After a short break, the band returned for an encore. Following a performance of “Afterglow,” the soft, short, and sweet finale of “Every Open Eye,” Mayberry began singing the opening lines to the band’s biggest hit and show closer, “The Mother We Share.” The crowd exuberantly joined in, making the beginning of the actual song so much sweeter. CHVRCHES humbly thanked their crowd once again, and wished everyone a “see you next time” before exiting the stage, leaving the audience with a night to remember.