CHVRCHES

Dan Croll, CHVRCHES

Dan Croll and CHVRCHES at Mercury Lounge, New York, NY, March 18th, 2013,

Mar 26, 2013 Web Exclusive Photography by Robert Kidd Bookmark and Share


Liverpool's Dan Croll survived the SXSW performance maelstrom only to pop up to a horribly snowy and cold New York City for a pair of back-to-back shows with CHVRCHES. It was nice to find the congenial singer and his band in such high spirits after working their asses off for most of the last week in Austin, Texas. (Croll and crew played at least six shows there, including Under the Radar's Friday party.) It was hard not to like the amiable frontman; he bounced through a selection of mostly-upbeat guitar pop songs between quizzing his audience for NYC tourism advice. Croll played the songs from his new From Nowhere EP, and a handful of extra tracks; the highlights were the EP's synth-driven title track and the woodsy, harmony-rich "Home."

CHVRCHES were the headliners, playing the first of two sold-out shows of the night. Much was made of the band's timid stage presence during their SXSW performances, but they certainly didn't seem as rigid as they've been made out to be. Singer Lauren Mayberry isn't crowdsurfing or fist-fighting Nazis (like another band was doing uptown the same night) but she wasn't trying to hide from the audience. She was shy, but charming in doses of banter; the enthusiasm of bandmates Iain Cook and Martin Doherty helped raise overall the energy level.

Cook and Doherty nearly upstaged their singer at times. With many electronic acts, it can be tough to appreciate the contributions of their instrumental members, particularly when there's a singer who stands in the open center of stage, while the others are tucked away in cockpits of synthesizers, samplers, and laptops. Thus far we've only heard studio versions of a small handful of CHVRCHES' tracks, and all of those featured Mayberry's singing front and center in the mix. Several of the unreleased songs boasted great backing vocals from those two; for one song, "Tide," Doherty sang lead. He revealed that he'll be singing on several of the tracks on their upcoming full-length, which could provide a nice juxtaposition with Mayberry's tracks on the record. (Fingers crossed they'll do one with dual vocals, à la Berlin or The Human League.)

The band played through a quick set, with their released tracksparticularly "Recover" and "The Mother We Share"getting the biggest reaction from the crowd. They closed with a sing-along cover of Prince's "I Would Die 4 U," which was the perfect way to warm up the crows one last time before sending them back out into the night's ugly wintry mix.

(www.dancroll.com)

(www.facebook.com/chvrches




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