On Thursday 31st March CHVRCHES played at London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of The Albert Sessions. I was equally as excited to see their support, Shura, as I was to see the band for the first time and both acts put on a brilliant show.
Shura opened with ‘Nothing’s Real’, the title track from her upcoming debut album, and her set list mixed in unreleased album tracks with single favourites including ‘Indecision’ and ‘2Shy’. Hearing new songs such as ‘What Happened To Us?’ made me even more excited for her album, which is released 8th July. As expected, it was a brilliant set, and a perfect opener for CHVRCHES. With her infectious 80s inspired synth-pop, I’m sure Shura gained many new fans that night. My highlights of her set included the gem ‘Just Once’ which was amplified into this gorgeous War On Drugs-esque stunner and of course, the flawless ‘White Light’. As her final song, it’s always good fun seeing Shura absolutely going for it during the instrumental of ‘White Light’, as you just see a blonde head of hair whizzing around. It was great to see her playing such a huge and iconic venue and you could tell she was very grateful to be there. I hope that as a result of this tour she has gained a new legion of fans and I cannot wait to see her again at her headline show at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in May.
For the main event, CHVRCHES burst onto the stage with ‘Never Ending Circles’ and immediately I was taken aback. Don’t get me wrong, I was really excited to see them playing live and knew they had been touring almost non-stop for the past few years, but I just wasn’t quite prepared for how amazing they would be. Starting with that very first song, their whole set was just a beautifully lit, pitch-perfect party.
I found myself continually being astounded by Lauren’s vocals and her stage presence, as well as her charming stand-up style stage talk. It was also great to see Martin take centre-stage as he performed ‘High Enough To Carry You Over’ and ‘Under The Tide’ (which is unbelievably awesome live). The band’s occasional pauses in between tracks to have a chat with the audience were funny and sincere, as they shared their gratitude for being able to play the venue and for the fans. And as for the fans themselves, the atmosphere was incredible. A lot of times when you go to gigs, there are people who are too loud, maybe even too aggressive and those who seem to be there just to catch up with their mates. But, there was none of that at this gig. Everyone was just having a great time and the crowd’s energy was infectious. From Shura’s opening set to ‘The Mother We Share’ finale, I was in absolute synth-pop heaven.
The whole night was just spot on and seeing thousands of people jumping around to ‘Clearest Blue’ with an awesome light display in the Royal Albert Hall was an unforgettable moment. I left the venue fully charged and immediately wanted to go and see them again. The Royal Albert Hall was already one of my favourite venues, but it was something very special indeed seeing artists such as Shura and CHVRCHES playing that iconic stage. And I have to admit it was one of the best, if not the best, gig I’ve ever been to.