Although a cold winter storm welcomed CHVRCHES to San Diego, the Scottish synth pop band was still able to warm up the Observatory North Park onTuesday, December 14th with a high energy show. This was the band’s second show in as many nights at this beautiful venue. 

After opening support from Donna Missel, the building went dark and ominous music began to play—setting the tone for the evening. Their latest album Screen Violence (their fourth studio release) pays homage to classic Hollywood horror movies. The band kicked off the evening with “He Said She Said”, the lead single off Screen Violence. Lighting and a large LED backdrop were utilized as additional storytellers throughout the show, adding drama to the performance. Older tracks “Forever” and “Leave A Trace” followed immediately, grabbing the audience’s attention.

Earlier during the tour, COVID sidelined guitarist Iain Cook. At the time the band was able to continue with their North American tour with help from techs and fill-ins and didn’t cancel any of their gigs. Cook was able to return before the calendar turned to December and on this evening, he strayed away from his synth board and towards the front of the stage with his guitar.

With Lauren Mayberry on lead vocals, the effervescent front woman continues to amaze me, I have watched her grow and mature with each tour—her stage presence and overall confidence increases tenfold with each. Martin Doherty rounds out the trio—covering bass, synth and backup vocals.

Throughout the evening the band relied heavily on material from their latest release Screen Violence to fill up the set list—accounting for nearly half the songs. The brilliant “How Not To Drown” was a mid-set highlight, while “Violent Delights” showcased Mayberry’s strong vocals. Later, Mayberry and crew hit the Observatory crowd with a one-two punch with “Bury It” and “Miracle”. The latter welcomed a full sing-along with fans.  

With each album the band continues to show their overall evolution.  With 4 albums now of spectacular material they have plenty of concert filling selections from which to choose from. Mayberry later disappeared briefly to make her third wardrobe change of the evening, returning in a white “FINAL GIRL” t-shirt to perform the song that shares the same name. “Recover” and “Never Say Die” closed out the main set.

Their 3 song encore saw Mayberry (while still wearing her white t-shirt ) now bathed in theatrical blood perform “Asking For A Friend”, “The Mother We Share” and “Clearest Blue”.  The song’s clear urgency and pace helped close out the night triumphantly.

This abbreviated 26 show tour concludes December 17 & 18 with shows in Los Angeles. The band takes their tour to the UK in March. As 2022 festival announcements begin to roll out, expect to find CHVRCHES back here in the States by next summer.

CHVRCHES Set List:   He Said She Said | Forever | Leave A Trace | California | How Not To Drown | Violent Delights | Science/Visions | Good Girls | Bury It | Miracle | Night Sky | Final Girl | Recover | Never Say Die   

Encore:  Asking For A Friend | The Mother We Share | Clearest Blue