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Review of Brisbane show from Rave magazine Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 October 2006
Originally published in Brisbane street mag "Rave" at

The Tivoli - Sat Oct 7 2006

As late replacements for The Valentinos, who were forced to cancel due to illness, The Boat People have an unenviable task as the warm-up act for The Church – a band more contrasting to The Church’s expansive psychedelic jangle could scarcely be imagined. But their polished-to-a-gleam pop songcraft and surehanded musicianship stands them in good stead, and the mostly middle-aged crowd seems to find the local four-piece pleasant enough company.

Having played almost exclusively acoustic shows for the past couple of years, The Church have a point to prove tonight – to show the long-time faithful (and judging by the amount of greying, balding heads, most of this audience is indeed the very-long-time faithful) that they can still create sparks with electric guitars. That they proceed to do so as soon as they take the stage speaks of the unique chemistry among the band’s four members. The 30- and 40-somethings are immediately sated with a surprising back-to-back airing of Myrhh and Destination, the opening tracks of 1986’s Heyday and 1988’s Starfish respectively – the former a propulsive rocker buttressed by the sparkling guitar interplay of guitarists Marty Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes, the latter a spacious, atmospheric mood piece.

Following this auspicious beginning, the show is an absolute treat for Church fans new and old, with plenty of classic songs (Reptile, Under The Milky Way, even the rarely played The Unguarded Moment) intermingling with strong new tracks from the band’s latest album Uninvited, Like The Clouds – the sinister, snaking, slow-building Block and the sublime psychedelic free-fall of Day 5, both from the new album, more than hold their own with the band’s more well-known treasures.

Buoyed by a crystal-clear sound and an enraptured audience, the band play magnificently – frontman Steve Kilbey particularly shines, his bass playing robust and inventive, his mellow, enveloping voice in rare form, and his stage patter frequently hilarious, particularly when he demonstrates a special rock move he calls “the earth-affirming gesture”, a Neil Diamond-esque drop to the knees with an accompanying extended forearm thrust towards the floor. Guess you had to be there.


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