CHVRCHES - Granada Theater - June 6, 2013
I find it entertaining when there's some ambiguity over a band's name. CHVRCHES, with that V incongruously placed into the vowel space, is a perfect example. Churches? Cher-ver-ches? It's a lot more fun for it to be the second one. Of course, as the band themselves reveal two songs in, they've got no idea too. You can call them by either one, they'll still come running. Or, on the evidence of last night's set, they'll glide over smoothly with a blaring electro soundtrack. The band themselves were upbeat and hugely enjoyable, and while their music may lack a little bit of substance in the flesh (understandable for a group just embarking on their first US tour and who have only been making music together for a couple of years) it was undoubtedly, as all EDM should be, the soundtrack to a fantastic night out.
Now, the thing that bothered me in particular last night was not the band at all, who were excellent, a glimmering throwback to eighties synth pop but filtered through some of the big-room EDM we all grew up with, like Faithless. No, while this three-piece, impish singer Lauren Mayberry throwing minimalist shapes as her thin falsetto rose above the electro din created by the keyboards, bass, and drum machine either side of her, created some music that is a perfect soundtrack to a big, messy, night out at one of Dallas' best-equipped venues for this sort of thing, the crowd stayed perfectly still.
It seemed like the audience was waiting for something, as if the band was a rabbit they needed to catch for dinner, and if the crowd were to move said rabbit would dive back into its warren (you didn't click on this review thinking I'd have the accurate name for a rabbit dwelling now, did you). The swell of filming iPhones, filming a darkened gig entirely lit from the back and thus one where it would be almost impossible to make a coherent film, far outnumbered anyone actually moving to the electronic dance music in front of them designed entirely for throwing down your thing. It's not even like this was a downbeat, thoughtful EDM set. It was, at most times, big and brash and colorful, with even the low-key sections exploding into noise with a huge rolling drone bass noise filling the venue.
So, I don't get it. Maybe I'm brought up on the British EDM scene, where people go out to nightclubs or to raves and there is perpetual motion for the entire evening. Just, seeing over a thousand people late at night in a sold-out venue with the drink flowing and the smell of weed hanging heavy in the air, in the face of synths and a well-constructed light show, utterly fail to move any of their limbs except for the odd straggling arm in the air, was almost fascinatingly confusing to me.