Tourists from all over the world visit the Hollywood Forever cemetery in Los Angeles to pay respects to some of the founding legends of the Hollywood movie scene, famous musicians such as Johnny Ramone, and even to see the cenotaph to Toto, the dog from the Wizard of Oz. However, on Oct. 3rd and Oct 4th, many people gathered on the Fairbanks Lawn on the cemetery grounds to pay their respects and to enjoy live back-to-back performances by the Scottish synth-pop band CHVRCHES.
It may seem apropos that a band called CHVRCHES would perform adjacent to hundreds of tombstones, however live music and movie screenings are now often held at this venue, and this wasn’t an isolated event despite the coincidental band name. I admit, it did seem irreverent and somewhat inappropriate to attend a live concert on the grounds of a cemetery, but for some odd reason it worked. I’d do it again.
CHVRCHES is made up of a trio of extremely talented artists. Lauren Mayberry fronts the band primarily on vocals with occasional synth and percussion performances, Martin Doherty mainly works the synthesizers and takes over lead vocal duties on a few songs, and Iain Cook brings guitar and additional synthesizers to the mix. Together they have written some absolutely amazing songs across two full featured albums: The Bones of What You Believe released in 2013 and Every Open Eye in 2015. Very few albums from any artist/band have captured my attention as much as these two; I can listen to every track on each album repeatedly without skipping a song.
I may be a bit biased in this review as CHVRCHES is easily one of my favorite bands. This was the first time, however, that I had the opportunity to see them live and to say they didn’t disappoint would be an understatement. I’m now even a bigger fan of their music. Their performance was absolutely incredible, and looking around the crowd I’m sure others would agree. They opened with Never Ending Circles, the title track off their latest, and played a really great mix of songs from both of their albums. Their final encore song was by no surprise the single that put them on the map: The Mother We Share.
I’m excited to hear what’s next for CHVRCHES, and I’m looking forward to seeing them on tour again. If you haven’t listened to their music before, I encourage you to give them a try! Some of my favorite songs are Leave a Trace, Make Them Gold, Recover, Gun, and Bury It. Oh, and Empty Threat… and Clearest Blue… and Lies… and don’t forget Tether.
Article by Mark Tepsic