"Mayberry may look frail, but her presence is mighty and it's almost as if an anime character has sprung to life."
Not many punters are here to experience the banging goodness of East India Youth (William Doyle on his passport), but we're happy with the extra dancing space. Smartly dressed in crisp white shirt, suit jacket and maroon tie, Doyle sings, plays bass and coaxes lush sounds from the keys. We would love to appreciate East India Youth in a dive bar in the wee hours of the morning, but sadly his 3.15pm Laneway scheduling won't grant our wish either.
Suddenly there's an influx of revellers and it's near-impossible to re-enter the floor section if you do a bar run. The Chvrches lighting design is next-level and incorporates glitter effects we've never before seen. Geometric shapes as sharp as Chvrches' beats sometimes appear to be coloured-in live. The band is clad in black and frontlady Lauren Mayberry struts around in platform clodhoppers and flippy grey skirt, whippin' her hair back and forth. Mayberry may look frail, but her presence is mighty and it's almost as if an anime character has sprung to life (a style that is incorporated throughout their Under The Tide video). Up on risers and behind banks of equipment, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty leave maximum stage space for Mayberry's whirling dervishes. Cook comes forward every now and again to strut with his bass, but Mayberry and the lighting designer are what make this show striking. Gotta keep going on about the production values 'cause the lights dance perfectly in sync with the music and we would probably pay good money just to see this spectacle set to a backing tape. It's all about Lies. On top of industrial crashes, the synth stabs shimmer (almost) as brightly as the ever-changing backdrop. We bounce around and reach toward Forum Theatre's star-spangled roof: "I can feed your dirty mind!" — they're sort of like The Knife with blunter edges. When Doherty takes his turn on lead vocals over the crackling, electronic backbone of Under The Tide his Scottish accent reprazents. It gets all Depeche Mode on us for a bit and we're certainly not complaining.
Afterglow gently commences our encore and perfectly showcases Mayberry's vocal chops. "Oh! AH! Oh-oh-oh-AH!" — closer The Mother We Share allows us to bop once more and it's these catchy, danceable bangers that make Chvrches stand out in a saturated indie-dance marketplace. If only they'd Googled their band name to avoid having to implement that awkward spelling! A cautionary tale for emerging acts.