Mayberry shows there's life - make that music - beyond Chvrches

Brighton Music Hall, Boston, September 18, 2023

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

It took about a New York minute for Lauren Mayberry to sell out the gig at the 500-plus person club. In fact, it was third show in Boston within a few weeks (though her first headlining). That's what happens when you're the lead singer of Chvrches, the Scottish synth pop band that's typically playing venues in Beantown a good five times as large.

Only if you were expecting to hear "Leave a Trace," "Get Out" or some other Chvrches song, you were flat out of luck. Mayberry made that ultraclear at the outset, when she said, "You're not going to know any of the songs." That was not entirely true (read on).

Later, she mentioned how the short jaunt has not necessarily been easy on her three-piece backing all-female band. "When you play with a band, you play the same songs all the time," Mayberry said.

Well, not on her solo tour.

Fact of the matter is that didn't seem to matter as Mayberry turned in a sharp and very succinct set that at times was more pop/dance oriented, sometimes leaning more towards the singer/songwriter end.

Mayberry's music bears some relation to Chrvches, particularly on the propulsive songs ("Crocodile Tears" for example) in her 10-song set.

Mayberry switched it up a lot musically when she played keyboards on the brand new single, "Are You Awake," far different than Chvrches songs. It was a a quiet song with the song apparently being an impetus for doing songs outside of the Chvrches framework. And like much of the night, there was a sadness to the subject matter.

A likable and engaging personality, Mayberry knew her musical history also. Saying that Boston had many musicians, she decided to play a cover of 'Til Tuesday's "Voices Carry," the band that first propelled Aimee Mann's career. And Mayberry would have done Mann proud with her reading of the hit.

Ditto for her rendition of Madonna's "Like a Prayer," perhaps a bit more poppy than her own material, but still a cover that made sense.

Mayberry went to the well a bit too often on recorded intros as she had four! And a few times, her vocals tended to get a bit buried.

This was not a concert that kept you for very long. Mayberry clocked in at a taut 45 minutes from start to finish with no encore. Apparently, she wanted to separate herself from Chvrches since she played no songs from her main gig.

But her own material resonated from a musical standpoint as well as being performed live before a crowd that may have little knowledge of her solo efforts unless you visit YouTube. Mayberry showed there is life beyond Chrvches.

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