SOAK, comprising of the 17 year old Birdie Monds-Watson from Londonderry, kicked off the night with an acoustic set. Even though her set was completely acoustic and the headline act are an electronic synth-pop band, it didn’t feel boring or mundane in any kind of way. Not all of the songs in her set were slow; most of them had pleasant upbeat melodies. Her set was relatively short, but nothing short of amazing. Monds-Watson certainly possesses a powerful and passionate voice that seemed slightly reminiscent of Canadian electro-pop singer LIGHTS.
It was such a shame that, although there were a number of attentive people who genuinely enjoyed her set, it was impossible to ignore that it was slightly drowned out by a number of rude, drunk audience members. Nevertheless, her set exhibited the great potential she has on the scene, especially with her brand new EP Blud that dropped on the 16th of March through CHVRCHES record label Goodbye Records.
After a 30-minute wait between acts, it was finally time for Glaswegian electronic outfit CHVRCHES to come on for the first time ever in Wales to the delight of an applauding crowd. The stage set up was one of the most prominent features of the show; a captivating light structure that resembled the album art of their debut album, The Bones Of What You Believe. The band opened with a performance of theirs upcoming single ‘We Sink’; the combination of erratic lighting and synth melodies throughout the set making for a somewhat trippy atmosphere within the venue.
Front-woman Lauren Mayberry possesses very cutesy yet tuneful vocals. Not only did she sound extremely confident, her vocals were pretty powerful for a person of such tiny stature. These qualities worked very well together with her splendid stage persona. Mayberry constantly kept the crowd engaged through responding to a variety of comments shouted out by members of the audience through her thick, Scottish accent.
For the band’s performance of ‘Under the Tide’, the ever enthusiastic Martin Doherty took over centre stage. Not only were the crowd treated to his delightful vocals that changed up the set a bit, but they were also shown a plethora of his energetic dance moves. Doherty is definitely talented in many respects, be it his musical abilities or his dance skills. This spectacle was shortly followed by the performance of one their more popular songs ‘The Mother We Share’ that has received considerable airplay. The band then exited the stage and returned to play an encore consisting of their songs ‘You Caught The Light’ and ‘By The Throat’.
For their first time in Wales, CHVRCHES without a doubt put on a splendid show. They were definitely up to the crowd’s expectations and are likely to become a huge act very quickly.
Photos by Bethan Miller.