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Concert review of Factory Theatre, March 2009 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Aimee-Lee wrote a very good review of the band's performance in March 2009. Originally published at


The lights are dim; smoke billows gently on the stage floor, the smell of incense fills the room and the four members of one of the country's most important bands emerge on stage. The instantly recognisable silhouette of Marty Willson-Piper, with his long hair and massive beard, picks up the silhouette of a Rickenbacker and begins ferociously strumming the opening chords of 'Tantalised', and as the drums kick in and the lights flare up with the first line of lyrics, there they are - the church.

Frontman Steve Kilbey, known for his oftentimes swinging temperament, seemed to be on his best behaviour (perhaps feeling humbled, gracious, and even renewed from his recent health scare, which led to the cancellation of two Queensland shows). Together with the aforementioned affable grizzly bear guitarist, drummer/tech man Tim Powles and the ever-quiet yet ultra-professional guitarist Peter Koppes, Kilbey put his all (or all that's left of it) into a slick set comprising songs off the new album such as 'Happenstance' and 'Pangaea', along with oldies such as 'You Took', 'Almost With You', 'North South East and West', 'Hotel Womb' and 'Reptile'.

For the most part, Kilbey ignored the hecklers (bar one he called a "silly, silly man", and rightly so too) and interacted warmly with the crowd, asking the audience to "stop calling out about other people except me" as cries of "Martieeeeee!" echoed through the room; further remarking that "no-one's said they love me yet, and I'm the one that got out of hospital." If anyone it should have been Koppes crying for more attention, as his modest stage demeanour might not be attention-grabbing but provides great contrast to his incredible skills as a unique and innovative guitarist.

The band's Melbourne gig the previous week saw Kilbey slag off hits like 'Under the Milky Way', derisively calling his audience "fools" for wanting to hear it. For this he received harsh criticism on his blog page, which he responded to in a politely restrained, diplomatic manner. I was impressed by the professionalism he displayed at this show, as although he introduced it as "the monster", the outspoken frontman had clearly taken the criticism on board and reconciled his boredom with the song with the fact that it's a bloody great track and people want to hear it.

By next year the church will have been producing and performing some of Australia's most remarkable and essential music for three decades, and I for one feel lucky to have experienced their live show, no less been exposed to their music.

Aimee-Lee Curran
17 Mar 2009

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