Takeover Post #3 CHVRCHES / Mansionair – O2 Acadmey Birmingham – 25.11.2015

  Hey guys, quick message from me first (Leanne)! So I felt it was time to spice things up again and well I would like to introduce a Guest blogger to the blog! You may already have noticed the name floating around a bit already but here you go! Be nice and meet the lovely Kirsty! xo


   My obsession with CHVRCHES started with Mother We Share. From then I listened to them all the time, every song being a favourite. So when I found last minute tickets to see them at the O2 Academy, one of the best local venues FOR ONLY £17, I couldn’t say no. Messaging Leanne begging her to come along, we booked them a week before the gig. I didn’t bother checking out who was supporting, I trusted they would be amazing if they were supporting my favourite band… So the day came around and I couldn’t focus on ANYTHING accept getting to the O2 on the evening!

   Arriving an hour before doors, the queue was already down the road and around the corner, we were somewhere in the middle, in the freezing cold, dying for the toilet! About 10 minutes after doors – we were in!

Mansionair:

   I’d never even heard of these guys, so had no idea what to expect from them. A 3 piece from Australia, recently signed to CHVRCHES record label, Goodbye Records. Coming on stage calmly, like it was no big deal; these guys were instantly one of the chillest bands I’d ever seen. Shy, quiet, oozing that cool vibe that makes you want to know more. 

   They went straight into their first song and I was completely WOWED. Jack the guitarist and lead vocalist had a voice like an angel, one of the best I’ve ever heard. I can’t even begin to describe their music; it’s a mix of many genres, a light techno feel, slow and fast with no major drops, but with an indie vibe in there somewhere. Lachlan certainly had his work cut out for him, playing guitar along with back-in vocals and keyboard, his voice was amazing and his talent shone through throughout the whole set. Alex was amazing, never missing a beat and really setting the tone for the band, he played a little shaker along with drumming and he’s incredibly talented.

    Now I’m a sucker for in our face stage presence and interaction with the crowd, but this band just didn’t give a lot in those departments. They were shy, with minimal swaying and movement while playing. But hold fire, it’s not bad, it fitted their music PERFECTLY. If they had been jumping around, lots of movement and loads of talking, it would’ve almost seemed wrong. Lachlan spoke to the crowd more than Jack and seemed more confident but I think that was just their personalities, not part of the performance. They said thank you, made the crowd feel appreciated and generally were absolutely mesmerizing. Their cool vibe stuck with them and I was in a trance, watching them intently not able to look away through their whole set.

   They were an amazing fit for CHVRCHES, warming the crowd with beautiful music, captivating the audience. They seemed to really enjoy themselves, super into what they were doing and they came across as such sweet, lovely people. As soon as I left I bought and downloaded their EP (Pick Me Up) and it chills me out so much, absolutely breath-taking.

CHVRCHES:

   It seemed strange having only one support at a gig, but it somehow made it feel more intimate. It felt like the little hometown shows I love so much and made me forget just how much of a big deal CHVRCHES are to me.  After being so excited about it, I wasn’t let down…

   Bouncing on stage and filling the room with an electric energy that’s rare to experience, CHVRCHES went straight into Never Ending Circles, the first song from their 2015 album; one of my favourites! While swaying along to this amazing piece of music, only one thing was going through my mind: Lauren is so tiny. Of course I knew that already, but in real life she looks even more like a tiny, little pixie than she does in photos/videos! Bouncing back to the gig from my day dream about fairies with glittery faces and gem stones stuck on their cheekbones, the lights bought me back to reality.

   I am an absolute sucker for lighting at gigs, but this was something else. Honestly, the lighting was on another level! Clever use of strobes, beautiful colours that worked well with the dark venue and went well with the mood of the songs; a huge well done is in order to their light tech, what a great job they did!

   Back to the music – CHVRCHES sound exactly the same live as they do on their records. Lauren’s voice is the same if not better, Martin’s vocals are equally as amazing and what he does on that synthesizer is something else and Iain’s skills as a bassist as well as on the sample board/synthesizer are absolutely astounding. Honestly, the sounds that these guys make are on a whole other level to any live music I’ve heard before; there was just SO MUCH SOUND. As well as singing, Lauren played a small drum set that appeared in some tracks throughout their set, multi-tasking and running around like it was nothing to her, just another day at the office!

   The stage presence that they have is amazing; they have such a great tact with interacting with the crowd. As soon as Lauren spoke she made us feel welcome, like it was a joy to be in front of us when really we were the ones there to see her and the guys! She was charming, funny and just so adorable. When she wasn’t speaking to the crowd she was running around the stage dancing, encouraging the crowd to move around and get involved. It wasn’t just Lauren who made her mark on the stage, Martin and Iain although obviously busy making their music, danced around, jumping and waving and getting involved.

   Mid-set for a couple of songs, Martin and Lauren swapped places. Martin assumes the role of lead vocalist in a few CHVRCHES songs, Under the Tide being a favourite, and while the atmosphere in the venue was already at a high he took it even further. His movements made Lauren look like she was standing still! He was bouncing, running, moving more than should be possible for a person executing such awesome vocals! Iain as always was fabulous keeping the beats going strong, alternating between instruments. Lauren took over Martins half of the instruments and had her drum kit with her. There was so much to look at it was hard to keep track of what was going on.

   All of a sudden it was what seemed to be the last song and the gig had flown by without me realising and I was so sad because I didn’t know if I’d missed it, or if my favourite song just hadn’t been played; the song that made me fall in love with CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share. Of course, we’d been deceived and the encore followed. Coming back on to a slower song, Afterglow, which was received well by the crowd and was totally overwhelming after such an upbeat gig.
Suddenly, Mother We Share was booming through the sound system and I was screaming at the top of my lungs with the rest of the people in the venue.  Over too soon, CHVRCHES left the stage for the final time and I ran to the cloak-room, bought some merch and went on my jolly way home on a total high after one of the best gigs of my life.

   This gig was one of a kind. It’s worth mentioning that these guys had all been on tours for MONTHS before this gig but still seemed to be on top of their game and showed no signs of wearing down after such a long tour. Not being the sort of music Leanne is usually into, she came away with a band she now loves; Mansionairs. I came away with a new love for them, and also an even more burning love for CHVRCHES. There is nothing more rewarding than going to see a band you really are passionate about and I’m glad to have ticked these guys off the long list I have. Every musician on that stage had insane talent and radiated good vibes and happiness; I’ll definitely see them again.

   Please go and check out both bands on YouTube, Spotify, anywhere you can! Buy their music, support them and show them lots of love!


   Sorry that this blog has taken 2 months to write, Christmas is always a busy time! Thank-you for you patience and I hope you enjoyed it. This is my second ever guest post so your comments would be absolutely amazing – Kirsty xx

Mansionair:

(Jack (centre), Lachlan (left), Alex (right))

CHVRCHES:

(LEFT – Lauren (centre), Martin (right))

(BELOW – Martin (centre), Iain (left), Lauren (right))