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Inpress reviews The Church's at Melbourne's Corner Hotel Nov 13 2004 Print E-mail
Saturday, 13 November 2004

 

THE CHURCH
Corner Hotel, November 13

Tonight The Church broke a taboo which had been strictly upheld since
the 1980?s, by playing The Unguarded Moment, and the slow,
dressed-down-to-the-rudiments version with which they opened their show sounded great, taking us right back to the genesis of their long
career.

Now in 2004, an unplugged performance of some old Church faves
alongside the new Sealine showed the band, stripped back to its sonic skeleton, to be as palpitating and finely-honed a unit as in its heyday. Steve introduced Under The Milky Way by promising to give this song its rightful dignity by making it the Australian National Anthem when Peter Garrett appoints him Governor General. Metropolis, he told us, was ?co-written on the end of a New Jersey pier with Bruce Springsteen, and, uh?Dylan.? Wearing the pigtail of the middle-aged flower child, Kilbey doesn?t speak so much as intone, even when he is being flippant, and his most introspective lyrics are delivered with eyes, closed, like a true voyant. After manning the drum kit for this song,
Marty Wilson-Piper (sic) returned to his guitar to give us an energetic
rendering of Tristesse, before the band turned to fleshing out some of
the rich new sounds they have been concocting over the last few years.

The Church seem to be in the middle of quite an extraordinary spate of
creativity at the moment? The second part of tonight?s show opened by throwing us straight into the densest region of the heavy mystique
which emanates like a potent miasma from both albums (FY and BY): The Theatre and Its Double followed by Telepath. The former perfectly encapsulates The Church?s ability to hook me in by my pseudo-intellectual pretensions with its Artaud allusion and lyrics like ?a critique of pure reason won?t give me what you saw/sow (?)? only to drop me in the middle of a space-rock onslaught whose power can only be registered on levels far more basic than the cerebral. It started like a lava flow and ended like Vesuvius erupting, breaking the limits of the recorded version in a paroxysm of Wilson-Piper (sic) guitar frottage.

Telepath, which I would argue is one of the greatest Church songs ever, for reasons that I can?t articulate any more than it?s just so
quintessentially them, like nothing else since Milky Way, lost some of its ornate mystery in the live translation. But the live experience of The Church reminds us what a great rock band they have always been, with or without the post-post-psychedelia mysticism: witness what happens in An Interlude when the singing stops, ye punters. As I find myself running out of space to dutifully list the rest of their set (the spectacular encore Cantilever, Kevin Ayers? Decadence, and perennial crowd favourite You Took should be mentioned), I am compelled to say something wanky about how this band, just when I though they had traded in their psychedelics for valium, are keeping alive rock?s romanticism in an age of shallow thrills, soulless sensation and cheap profundity.`
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