Erik Kabik / ErikKabik.com
Sunday, April 24, 2016 | 6:02 p.m.
The world’s potential next definitive pop band spent a night off in Las Vegas exactly how one might hope it would: Chvrches went to see Britney Spears.
Traditional pop’s princess from the turn of the century left an impression on the most accessible-sounding group of the current crop of indie-influenced synth-pop acts.
Chvrches lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry attested Thursday night from her band’s concert at Brooklyn Bowl in the Linq Promenade that Spears’ residency show, “Britney: Piece of Me” at Axis at Planet Hollywood, put the Scottish trio, Britney album pun intended or not, “in the zone.”
“We’re all the better for it,” she said. “But why are there no people coming down from the ceiling with snowflakes in the sky here?”
Because, truthfully, Mayberry didn’t need such gimmicks. All the eyes in the audience transfixed on her from the second she skipped across the stage to the sugary beats produced by band mates Martin Doherty and Iain Cook on opener “Never Ending Circles.”
They rarely drifted through the 85-minute set as Mayberry exhibited a charisma that can’t be taught but has certainly been honed during the band’s maelstrom of recent success.
The chemistry swirling among Doherty, Cook and her that led to an ocean of infectious hooks made it possible to foresee a day where Chvrches regularly performs to the arena crowds Spears has always commanded.
And if that sounds implausible, consider how far Chvrches has come already. Four years ago, they were toying with synthesizers in a Glasgow basement. Now the band has one album that’s sold more than 500,000 copies worldwide, debut “The Bones of What You Believe,” with a second, new release “Every Open Eye,” also on the way there.
Chvrches is fresh off a Coachella appearance that reportedly drew 30,000 spectators. Brooklyn Bowl had less than a tenth of that, but the room was near capacity and much livelier than when Chvrches first visited around Coachella almost exactly two years ago.
“Statistics that we have gathered say there are more than twice as many people in the venue this time,” Mayberry said.
For double the fanfare, Chvrches tried to provide double the show. Mayberry marveled multiple times at Spears’ production value that she witnessed the night before, but it’s not as if her band lacked in that department.
Chvrches had an expanded setup that suited it, with three towering LED screens separated by rows of strobes and spotlights. It went beyond compiling stock footage or simple video arrangements, instead curating a breadth of shapes and colors to outfit songs with an appropriate visual component.
Sparks of gold glitter sprung during self-championing latest single “Make Them Gold,” while a sapphire sea silhouetted Chvrches at the exuberant end of old favorite “We Sink.”
The best was saved for the band’s most sweetly overindulgent song, main-set closer “Clearest Blue,” as crystal flashes accompanied a synth drop that had a trampoline-like effect on the relatively idle crowd.
Other particularly well-received parts of the show included Doherty’s enthusiastic vocal takeover on “High Enough to Carry You Over” and a prompted sing-along at the start of debut single and encore “The Mother We Share.”
Las Vegas has gotten spoiled with Coachella spillover concerts in recent weeks, and while Chvrches wasn’t the best of them, it did feel like the lone opportunity to catch an act that could soon become as massive as they sound.
Mayberry always livened in instances where the energy dipped, including dropping to her knees to wail on and bash the floor at the end of “Playing Dead.” Afterward, she bemoaned that she couldn’t move like Spears.
“She must be so fit to do all that dancing,” Mayberry laughed. Mayberry endeared herself to the crowd by sharing a litany of Spears observations in between songs.
The final one included a breakdown of two ubiquitous singles, as the former music critic described the undeniable catchiness of “Womanizer” but questioned some of the lyrical content and vocal bars on “Work Bitch.”
Chvrches ceased the banter by breaking into “Bury It,” with Mayberry belting the anthemic chorus while twirling through the air. The moment fortified the idea that Mayberry could herself become the larger-than-life figure who mesmerizes budding stars in the years to come.
Case Keefer is the Las Vegas Sun’s assistant sports editor and an avid music fan.