The Old Museum-Brisbane, Saturday 1 November 2014.
Mingling amongst the crowd outside the Old Museum, the topic of conversation falls to what will be on tonight’s set list. Opinion ranges from obscure album tracks to more well known songs. I actually really like their new songs and hope they play a few of them. I have never seen a show at this venue and as I walk in I am impressed by its intimate nature. Tonight’s show is sold out and the crowd of about 400 warmly welcomes The Church as they walk on stage.
The slow build of Toy Head starts proceedings and frontman Steve Kilbey bids the crowd hello, thanks us for coming and says with a grin, “Tonight we won’t be playing any old songs, sorry about that.” A man two seats down gets up and walks out, cursing that he “likes their old stuff better than their new stuff” but the other 399 who stay are treated to a great show by the veteran band.
Volkano and new single Pride Before a Fall show Kilbey is in great form vocally, the falsetto parts in Pride are nailed perfectly, the melody seamlessly entwining with the guitar parts played by Peter Koppes and Ian Haug.
The Church are a band that has a new energy. Tonight they are an engaging and energetic. Haug’s presence has had a positive impact and they sound more musically coherent than they have in years. The good-natured banter on-stage show’s the group are enjoying what the new guitarist has brought to the table. Twenty-five albums into their career and they sound anything but tired. The Further/Deeper tunes Vanishing Man and Globe Spinning positively rock in tonight’s set. Laurel Canyon is a mid set highlight. Tim Powles, shows he’s not only an excellent drummer, but he is a fairly handy harmony vocalist. Other highlights include the triple twelve string guitar parts of the melodious Old Coast Road and the psychedelic prog rock of Love Philtre.
Kilbey makes mention of a young fifteen year old fan who has come along to her first Church gig and playfully encourages her to “tell her friends at school about us”, he then thanks the crowd for “ listening patiently to the new songs” before the band launch into Lightning White and Let Us Go in quick succession.
Set closer Miami is another really good song that demonstrates The Church can appeal on a fresh ‘commercial’ level with their new songs as well as tip their hats to their musical past.
But tonight is all about the new. This reviewer had lost his connection with the band 5 or 6 albums ago. I walk out of tonight’s gig having heard vigor and majesty in their music again and I hear a couple at the merchandise stand say they “like their new stuff better than their old stuff.” I couldn’t agree more.
Words: By Craig L Thomson.
Photo: Jeff Ram