LIVE – CHVRCHES + HighSchool @ O2 Academy, Birmingham, UK

Review and Photography by Robert Barrett

The last two weeks news of CHVRCHES gigs have been dominated by the guest appearance of the one and only Robert Smith. But when touching down in Birmingham, they proved they don’t need a superstar appearance to shine in there own right.


The support on the UK leg of the Screen Violence tour was HighSchool, who gave an excellent warm up performance. Some excellent gothic indie rock with vocal inflections that reminded me of a young Morrissey (in all the best ways).

With static appearing on the screen behind them CHRVCHES took to the stage. Lauren Mayberry’s stage presence was electric from the off, a big change from the reserved performances a few years back. She commanded the room in her incredible glittery red outfit through opening numbers “He Said She Said”, “Forever”.

“When Robert Smith takes you for a drink, you can’t say no” said Lauren, explaining why the band were slightly hungover from the previous night. It didn’t show in the performance, with “How Not to Drown” sounding just as intense without the big man. 

The set was focused on the excellent new album, but they played a sprinkling of older tracks included the finale of euphoric house banger “Clearest Blue”. CHVRCHES have emerged as stars in there own right, and gigs like this prove it’s only up from here on out.

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