SSE Hydro

Chvrches have become a relentless electropop juggernaut, but have only one UK pop singles chart hit to their name.

Their fame has spread as an 'albums band' as they used to call it, because their updated 80s synthpop influences are tailor-made for those older folks with a few quid who can remember Depeche Mode's Just Cant Get Enough and will pay for an LP rather than buy individual songs heard on Radio 1 or Capital.

Each of the Glasgow combo's three albums, more fitting for those older folks,  has made the top ten ensuring that the Hydro is packed and excited for the trio's entrance. 

The soundtrack before the band come on fits the 80s synth throwback bill, covering everything from early Eurythmics, Gary Numan and Aha.

You would think that this big homecoming arena gig, would then attract fans more around the age of the two guys in the band Iain Cook (44) and Martin Doherty (36) and older rather than the front woman Lauren Mayberry (31). But not so.  

This excited Glasgow homecoming crowd covers as wide an age range as you will ever see outside of a festival,  from kids to codgers, from teens to forty-somethings, mums and dads with sons and daughters, students and professionals.

Their 18-or-so songs are a wall to wall feast of mainly upbeat fizzing pop gems from the explosive opener Get Out to a crowd-pleasing The Mother We Share - their only singles chart hit to date.

Unlike in some of their shows, they even have time for the complex (for them) structures of the magnificently layered Tether from the first album.

Songs from their patchy new album dominated, while we have a handful from their glittering debut and just one or two from their second album Every Open Eye, which is their biggest selling album to date.

If there is a minor quibble about where they are right now, it is that some sections sound so samey.   This is where they could take tips from the rather splendid Let's Eat Grandma who supported them, and displayed a dazzling array of experimental synth-pop that a Chvrches crowd could get, but knowing there is an unsettling, psychedelic side of their repertoire - not in full show tonight - which might have blown minds.

But then AC/DC did okay doing the same old, same old.


Lauren Mayberry is the undoubted star of the show, dressed in "yellow see-through negligee" as one 70s-remembering codger observed, while impractically stomping around the stage in platform soles. 

Her high pitched shrill, when she talks live, and she doesn't hold back, sounds like someone who has sucked helium for far too long as a child and it has never got our her system. It's enormously endearing.

So she teaches us (or me, perhaps) of what 'chips and hame' means... and it WAS for me, by the way.

She waxes lyrical about the joys of being able to say 'cannae' without needing a translator and don't be surprised to find Lauren furballs on eBay, made up of all the hair she swallows during a performance.

Doherty, a former touring member of The Twilight Sad and Aereogramme,  remembers playing to gigs where the band outnumbered the audience, and he articulates this and the joy of playing to a packed 13,000 capacity arena not just in his words, but in his actions. He is jumping all around the stage in a euphoric state as if nobody is watching at all; in his own wee world.

That's what Chvrches are.  A band in their own wee ecstatic poptastic bubble.