Electronic Pop band Chvrches is finally setting out on their North American tour for their fourth album, Screen Violence, and Houston had the honor of being the first stop of the tour. No one knew the setlist, stage set-up, or the band’s wardrobe, but everyone knew it was going to follow the dark tones of the new era. The last time I saw Chvrches was in 2019 at ACL Live (Austin), so I was really excited to see them once again.
Opening for Chvrches was Donna Missal, who took the stage at precisely 6:45 P.M. She looked stunning, and I could immediately recognize the “Toxicity” copper hair color from Hayley Williams’ hair dye line. Missal released a brand new song the day of the show called “(to me) your face is love,” which she played with killer confidence. Before continuing her set, she gave thanks to the audience for showing up early to hear her sing. She proceeded with a cover of “Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead, and her angelic voice (metaphorically) lifted me out of my seat. She finished her set with a track from her debut album called “Let You Let Me Down.”
Everyone started to gear up for Chvrches, waiting in huge anticipation. Everyone around me kept debating between possible songs they were going to play, which made me all the more excited. Once the house lights went out, it was about to go down. The signature Screen Violence static appeared on the screen, and the band walked out. Lead Singer Lauren Mayberry was wearing a beautiful red trench coat and had diamond “blood” tears and makeup, matching the style of the new era. They kicked off the show with “He Said She Said,” followed by “Forever” and “Leave a Trace.”
With it being the first show of the tour, they played a lot of new songs for the first time, such as “Violent Delights.” Before the band made a switch and played the classic “Bury It,” Mayberry recalled a hilarious video where fans were singing the notable synth riff while on Parahoy with Paramore in 2016. After a few songs, Chvrches brought back a song to the setlist from their first album called “Night Sky.” This was honestly a great live experience; the song took the band back to their initial roots, and Mayberry absolutely killed it on the tambourine.
Throughout the show, Mayberry underwent a total of three outfit changes, where she went from an extravagant horror-inspired queen to someone wearing their own merch. She wore a shirt that said “Final Girl,” an ode to their song of the same name. They ended the show with the song “Never Say Die,” in which Mayberry encouraged the audience to sing along. With hearing the thrilling synth beat drop before the chorus and everyone chanting the lyrics back to the band, the song was a true riveting moment.
The band came back for an encore, during which Mayberry was covered in fake blood, aesthetically matching their performance of “Asking for a Friend.” Things stood silent for a few seconds until the memorable clangor from their most popular song “The Mother We Share” began to play, and everyone’s energy instantly went through the sky. They finished the night off with a lively performance of “Clearest Blue.”
Chvrches always puts on an amazing performance, but the energy at this show was positively and remarkably different. While keeping in touch with the new horror tropes seen in their recent album, they managed to keep up with the vibes from their previous works. The band’s energy definitely reflected on the crowd, as everyone was vibing, dancing and singing the lyrics. They kicked off the tour on a really good note, as it gives us a scope of what they are capable of on this tour. To everyone planning on seeing Chvrches during this tour: be prepared to scream your lungs out and dance until your feet fall off.
I am a UH Graduate Student majoring in Mass Communications, a UT Austin alum and an aspiring music journalist! My hobbies include photography, traveling for shows/festivals and taking strolls with my husky baby Luna Zoe.