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The Church in Dallas, July 29th 2006 Print E-mail
Saturday, 29 July 2006
Originally published at

? Full confessional: I do not like acoustic tours. If a band records an album using electric guitars, do us the favor and use electric guitars during a live performance too. Especially for bands like Australia's The Church that is rooted in shimmering psychedelia, courtesy of Rickenbacker guitars that require an electrical outlet.

But seeing as The Church was one of the first bands to appear on MTV's Unplugged back in the late 1980's doing their only hit "Under the Milky Way" --- a song that doesn't have much electric guitar to begin with but still sounds lovely in a stripped down mode --- they can be forgiven this transgression.

So acoustic is how the band is rolling these days and is how they played their first Dallas gig in 16 years at The Granada Theater. And with a great sound system and easy sight lines, The Granada is the right place to see and hear a hushed acoustic gig. As usual, a few stupid girls near the stage couldn't shut their mouths during the show --- something Steve Kilbey made mention of during the bands set (Please take note idiots --- bands hate when you talk while they try to play. It makes them not want to return to our city). Other than that usual Dallas annoyance, The Church sounded as rich as ever. But you had to close your eyes and imagine if you wanted to see the moppy haired paisley sporting Aussies because Kilbey and guitarist Marty Willson-Piper are both pushing 50 now and are looking every minute of it.

And those, like me, who wanted to hear a set heavily rooted in "Hey Day" "Remote Luxury" and "Starfish" albums would have to go home and listen to those CDs by themselves because the Church mostly abandoned playing selections from those fine works. Of course, "Under the Milky Way" got played --- certainly to stave off a potential riot from people who come to see them only wanting to hear that song.

Opening act Rob Dickinson, the former lead singer of England's dearly departed "The Catherine Wheel" was outstanding. Although he performed alone, he owned the stage, and alternately switched his guitar from acoustic to electric as he rolled his eyes back in his head and pushed some ever so slightly over-wrought lyrics from his first solo release out of his mouth. Dickinson tossed the crowd a few "Catherine Wheel" bones, including a scorching version of "Crank" and the band's signature song "Black Metallic". I got the impression that most people in the crowd were not ready for Dickinson to leave at the end of his 50 plus minute set. If he returns to Dallas, I'll return to his show. And so should you.

John Clarke

This review originally appeared on John's blog.

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