San Francisco CA the USA
Written by Meikee Magnetic
Photographs by Geoffrey Smith
All came out in support of the iconic alternative band Chvrches on a Thursday evening, December 16, in San Francisco, and they did not disappoint. Some interesting facts about the venue – The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was built in 1915 and has an arena seating capacity of 6,000 but can hold up to 10,000 on the floor. The stage is legendary, with acts like The Who, Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, and Nine Inch Nails playing in the past. Walking up, I saw the lit marquee and was happy to see that all safety protocols were in place while entering the venue: no vaccination card, no entry, period. In my opinion, the Civic is the go-to place to see concerts in San Francisco and holds special magic felt as soon as your feet enter the venue. The main floor had a pretty large crowd of vaccinated fans, all excited to see this long-awaited performance of songs from their newest studio album, “Screen Violence”!
The stage setup consisted of three large risers elevating musicians Lain Cook, Martin Doherty, and the drummer in front of a large video screen. Vocalist Lauren Mayberry stood front and centre wearing a few different looks throughout the performance. One was a stunning black dress with long sleeve extensions, tights, and magnificent black platform boots. Another was a beautiful glimmering black/silver dress adorned with a big shoulder cape accented with glitter makeup under the eye. The show was very sleek and straight to the point, highlighting the group’s fantastic music catalogue. It was incredible how the visuals were used more as a syncopated light show than a stage filled with lights and choreographed perfectly to every beat. One of my personal favourites of the night was the new track ‘Violent Delights,’ as it resonated with me, and I felt so connected to the song that I needed to share some of the lyrics below:
“These violent delights
Keep creeping into my nights
And they’re reading my rites
And I’ll never sleep alone again
And these violent delights
Keep bleeding into the light
And I’ll never be right
But they’ll never sleep alone again when I’m gone
When I’m gone”
I ran into sound engineer John Adams of the legendary venue DNA Lounge in the audience and was able to get some of his thoughts on the show.
“I waited over two years to see this show after several cancellations and difficulties getting the band here due to Covid, and it was definitely worth it, just wow!” – John Adams, DNA Sound Engineer
He went on to tell me, “I think this was one of the best shows they’ve done in a long time, perhaps second only to the show at Outside Lands over five years ago. From “Clearest Blue” to “The Mother We Share,” Chvrches played a litany of their hits and a few songs that I had never heard before live as a massive Chvrches fan. Lauren’s voice enraptured the audience, and at times, it felt like the audience knew every word to every song. Such a great night.”
The opening act, Wet Leg, also played a fantastic show, sounding much like Arctic Monkeys and produced by Alan Moulder (Ride, Depeche Mode, Curve, Lush, NIN, Smashing Pumpkins, basically the entire 1990s). Lead singer Donna Missal sounded great, as she flowed between country and a Juliette Lewis-style trying to do her best Mazzy Star, along with some Adele thrown in for good measure. San Francisco got a good dose of music during some troubling pandemic times, and this is one tour you don’t want to miss!
For more info on CHVRCHES, go to: http://chvrch.es/