Fall Concert Review Series 2k15 – Part 4: CHVRCHES
A couple of weeks ago, I was having a really crummy day. I was bummed that I wasn’t going to be able to see one of my favorite bands of today, CHVRCHES. After about a month of trying to hunt somebody down to sell me a ticket without making me go broke (curse you, ticket scalpers), I was about ready to admit defeat.
Begrudgingly, I decided to hang out in the Port Center Cafe on campus (which was temporarily closed due to having no heat or water, also just my luck).
Then something really cool happened: I got an email. Now, in college, I’ve found that I typically receive close to a dozen email a day, so I thought nothing of this at first. But as soon as I read the email’s subject, saying “CHVRCHES meet & greet – Congratulations!” my heart stopped.
A couple months ago, right around when the band released their new album, Every Open Eye, they started a website, called FANCLVB, where fans can sign up to get the latest news on the band, talk to each other in forums, get tour information, and sign up to win a chance for a meet-and-greet with the band. Of course, as soon as I heard about this, I immediately signed up.
I had almost completely forgotten about it, until I received the glorious message telling me I won!
Attached to the email was a short video from the band members congratulating me and telling me I won. I was too excited to comprehend it the first time, so I had to rewarch it to understand what was actually happening.
Since I was by myself in public, I had to refrain from getting up and squealing (but I did excuse myself to go outside and call my mom).
So, Saturday afternoon, I headed up to the Metro, where there was already a line of FANCLVB members waiting outside. Since the Red Line was not being my friend that day, we just barely made it on time for when they opened the doors.
We were allowed to bring a guest. My friend (and co-adventurer) Pearl Shin was able to meet me at the doors shortly after I got there. Once the band staff checked us all in, we got a fancy wristband that had a print resembling the album cover. These wristbands also allowed us to get in before the GA ticket holders when doors opened at 8.
Then, at long last (it was getting so cold), we were finally lead inside the venue and into the side room. We were given popcorn snacks (which were much appreciated!), and a signed poster (!!!) and, after a quick sound check, CHVRCHES band members Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook, and Martin Doherty entered the room, to which all the FANCLVB members applauded.
Everyone in the CHVRCHES/FANCLVB crew was super patient and handled everything really well. Before the personal meet-and-greets, we were organized into one spot for a whole group picture:
Check me out 3rd row center!! Photo by Rachael Wright
After that, we reassembled in line and, one by one, came up for photos and a quick chat with the band members.
Since I was at the back of the line (which I really didn’t mind, since it was warm and cozy inside and cold and gloomy outside), we were some of the last ones to meet them.
When the first half of the line had met the band and was out the door, my phone rang. It was my mom.
Lauren Mayberry jokingly called me out immediately. Admittedly, I was too starstruck to remember completely what she said, but I think it went along the lines of:
Lauren: “Oh who forgot to turn off their alarm?” Me: “Me, sorry, it’s a phone call.” Lauren: “Is it your boss? Are you in trouble?” Me: “No, it’s my mom.”
And then I answered the phone and told my mom hello. When she asked me what I was doing, I replied “Nothing, just at the CHVRCHES meet and greet,” to which replied “Oh I didn’t know it was this early!”
At this point, I had Lauren Mayberry’s attention. Then, she exclaimed “wait, let me talk to her!!” and crossed the entire room, arm outstretched. I told my mom “Oh, wait mom, the lead singer wants to talk to you,” and passed Lauren my phone.
Photographic proof!!! Photo by Pearl Shin
Again, I was too excited to comprehend all that she was saying, but my mom recapped to me that she told Lauren she hoped she was looking after her daughter, to which Lauren relied, “Oh yes, she’s being very well behaved.” After they chatted briefly, Lauren handed my phone back to me.
I thanked my mom for calling, told her I would call her later, and said goodbye. Lauren rejoined the guys and resumed meeting and greeting other FANCLVB members.
After the rest of the line cleared out, it was finally my turn to chat with the band.
Lauren told me my mom was nice, and I told her and Iain and Martin that this was so cool of them to do for their fans. I even brought a copy of their new album for them to sign, which they were more than happy to do. I told them how cool it was that they were doing this for their fans, and how excited I was when I got the email saying I won this. It was quick and easy, but it was still so rad of them to hang out with 30+ fans like this.
Me and some of the coolest people ever. Photo by Pearl Shin
Throughout the whole process, they were super nice. Earlier in the day, in fact, they had another event to give fans a chance to meet them: a signing at a Reckless Records store. It’s awesome when a band goes out of its way to better its relationship with the fans without charging hundreds of dollars per person just to talk for a second and then leave.
Afterward, we still had a few hours to kill before doors opened, so Pearl, my friends Jonathan and Joe (who also got FANCLVB meet and greet passes somehow) and I all headed to the Starbucks around the corner to stay warm.
Now, at this point, I still hadn’t had a ticket. I had been hardcore hounding down the concert’s Facebook event page, writing endless posts begging anybody to sell me just one ticket for a not outrageous price. A couple of days before, I had finally gotten a response promising me a ticket! And, on top of the meet and greet pass, it seemed everything was going to work out great!
That was until they bailed on me not even 2 hours before the show.
I was extremely frustrated and devastated now that I wasn’t actually going to see the people I had just met play live. I sent endless tweets, status updates, and hashtags into the void of the internet hoping that someone would miraculously get back to me with another ticket hookup, but nothing worked out.
Feeling disappointed and betrayed by a total stranger, I went with Jonathan and Joe back to the entrance to the venue, hoping for a scalper to come walking by offering something, but to no avail. After the FANCLVB was let in at 8, immediately followed by the GA ticket holders, I had to stay behind and see what I could do.
Another hour later (at this point I was shivering and had definitely had enough), I started being that person shouting “Anyone selling an extra ticket? Just 1 ticket? Please???” I was about to give up once again, but then a guy with his friends said he had an extra!! AND sold it to me for about face value! (There ARE still good people in this world!!!!)
Immediately, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get to my friends. They were in the very center of the audience, which was also the most packed part of the audience. And, with the opening band starting, I knew I had to secure whatever spot I could find.
After the opening band was finished and after waiting a short time, CHVRCHES finally took the stage, opening with “Never Ending Circles,” off their new album Every Open Eye. I already knew I loved the new album, but I found myself jamming to all the new songs harder than I imagined I would, even without knowing all the words yet.
Following the first song, the trio played “We Sink,” off their first album The Bones of What You Believe, and after came a string of new songs, such as “Keep You On My Side,” “Make Them Gold,” and “Empty Threat.”
Okay, so not only is Lauren Mayberry a ridiculously talented singer, songwriter, and performer, but she’s also one of my feminist heroines. She is always speaking out against the anti-feminist internet trolls and objectification of women in music. She even went on a mini-rant on stage about how a photographer once tried to take photos up her skirt, and how she now wears shorts underneath to combat it. Her messages through the songs she sang were both inspiring and empowering.
One of the most empowering songs to me is off their new album, titled “Bury It,” to which Lauren would double over and exclaim “Bury it/bury it / bury it, and rise above!” It was exuberant. It was lively. It was so rad.
Just before the encore, the band played “Leave A Trace,” their first single off Every Open Eye, and “Clearest Blue,” the second single. “Clearest Blue” is an upbeat song with a buildup and a dramatic explosion of synthpop joy that left the audience screaming for more. Of course, the band delivered.
To wrap up the show, CHVRCHES returned to stage to perform the ambient “Afterglow,” immediately followed by fan favorite, “The Mother We Share” as a great ending celebration of the band we love.
This was a once in a lifetime experience I had, and I could not be happier with the outcome. Thanks again to Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook, and Martin Doherty for making all of this possible.