Review: Still Corners and Chvrches at the Fine Line Cafe in Minneapolis, MN. June 8, 2013Published by Jeff Becker on June 10, 2013.
Don’t you hate it when make it to the gig, bob and weave your way to the front two rows and then you count the minutes and text your friends for 50% through the opening band because they sound nothing like what you’re wanting to hear tonight? No such problem on Saturday night in Minneapolis. Still Corners wasn’t an opener – they were a dual headliner. While Chvrches builds enormous steam without the benefit of a supporting album, they along with Still Corners provided an exciting one-two punch for 135 minutes at a more than sold out Fine Line Cafe in the heartbeat of downtown Minneapolis. While every nearby club had ‘Get Busy’ from Daft Punk blaring out the windows, both Chvrches and Still Corners would have nothing to do with disco on this night.
My last visit to the Fine Line Cafe was in the spring of 2012 as Of Monsters and Men were exploding onto the scene, much like what groups such as Polica and Chvrches are doing right now. At that point in 2012 Of Monsters and Men only had a small EP to their catalog but the jam-packed crowd didn’t care. They’d heard “Little Talks” stream through the social media scene already. That’s why we have the internet. Who needs albums when you have iTunes, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and Pandora to build excitement? I love albums. Would die with them if they ever die. But I don’t need an album for a tour.
Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches and Tessa Murray of Still Corners displayed their blends of bouncy pop (Chvrches) and ethereal indie (Corners) with the expected precision of bands that are touring rather relentlessly. Murray is cryptic, mysterious, in the shadows and draped behind her hair for much of the show – but it works great with the engineered flow by Still Corners’ songwriter/producer/keyboardist/guitarist Greg Hughes. With a wonderful leap from their debut LP to their new album, Strange Pleasures, Still Corners were outstanding during a perfectly timed 40 minute set of their best material. Mayberry on the other hand is Murray’s social opposite. White lights on her face during the show, very chatty and extremely playful with the audience. Both styles work great but the fact they are so disparate made them work incredibly well with their respective sets. Murray’s stoic delivery complements Still Corners’ style like the perfect glove.
Hailing from Glasgow (Chvrches) and London (Still Corners) respectively, this night showed the global similarities that the internet has helped pervade over the years. Where years ago music from different continents had their own feel and sound, we now live in an age where there are no oceans, no borders and no stereotypes. A group like Chvrches can hail from Scotland with a sound and appeal that is remarkably similar to that of the homegrown Minneapolis band Polica. They’re nearly identical and interchangeable despite being half a world apart. Without a doubt the internet has a humongous influence on the variety of music that young bands overseas can get exposed to with just a few clicks and a pair of Beats.
With no close 2nd place finisher, my personal highlight of the evening was the blistering ending of Still Corners’ set: ‘Midnight Drive’ and ‘The Trip’. It was 10 minutes of sonic, pop groove perfection that even the sublime Chvrches couldn’t quite match, despite the majority of the faithful in attendance hoping for the opposite. Once again, to get all of this high quality live music for $15 is further evidence that in 2013 live music is still the 2nd greatest bargain in the history of the world – right behind ramen noodles.