by Matt Juniper
Perhaps the most remarkable impact the internet has had on the music industry is the speed at which it can propel an artist to fame. Whereas in the past, a pair of promising singles would have left a band still on the hunt for a record deal, one hit song on SoundCloud or YouTube now seems to be all it takes to achieve worldwide fame. Wednesday evening’s Canadian Music Fest showcase of Glasgow’s Chvrches is one of the more stunning examples of this.
As I headed to the Mod Club and witnessed the astonishing amount of people gathering, this really hit home. The last time I had visited this venue I was seeing another artist who had just sparked global attention on the strength of a mere pair of YouTube-released songs; Lana Del Rey. In a similar fashion, Chvrches have gained a dedicated and eager fan base in the blogosphere on the strength of just three radio singles and a recently leaked 5-song EP (two tracks of which are just remixes of Recover)
Despite the limited discography, the room was packed to the brim, with a mix of collective enthusiasm and exhaustion filling the room, likely the result of a number of recent late night flights back from Austin from SXSW. Media reports suggest this hype has been the norm for Chrvches’ debut visit to North America.
Local Toronto band DIANA kicked the evening off with the sort of polished set one might expect from a group of seasoned musicians, with band members’ resumes boasting experience in bands ranging from Destroyer to Hidden Cameras. Lead vocalist Carmen Elle’s smooth vocals instantly drew the crowd in to an attentive silence, only stirring again to applaud the impressive saxophone that accompanied several of the songs. It is difficult to judge a band solely from a live performance but several people I spoke to indicated that they were left intrigued by the set and would be giving DIANA a second look.
Listen to DIANA’s Born Again below via Soundcloud.
Chvrches take the stage at about 10:15 to one of the largest and loudest crowds I have seen at the Mod Club. The trio looks confident as they emerge and within seconds Lauren Mayberry has established herself as a dominating presence despite her small stature. Their breakthrough hit “The Mother We Share” seemed to be a nod to Swedish electropop The Knife but their live act felt much more akin to Canada’s own Purity Ring.
Listen to The Mother We Share via Soundcloud below.
Packed with energetic, synth-driven pop songs the set contained what their debut EP lacked: consistency. Those who came to hear The Mother We Share and Recover weren’t disappointed; both songs had stunning live renditions, which likely went a long way towards Chvrches taking the Grulke Prize at SXSW.Those like me, who were more intrigued to see what Chvrches had to offer beyond these proven songs got a promising look at another band on the rise. By the time their full length drops in September, we may yet see another band that has risen to stardom without any proper full-length album release. But in this instance it seems promising that when the album is released, it will live up to the hype it has created.