REVIEW: THE CHURCH – NORTHCOTE THEATRE Saturday September 10,2022.
Review: Greg Phillips. Photos: Jason Rosewarne
The combination of Church main man Steve Kilbey’s fervent preference to play as much new and more recent material as possible and longtime fans’ need to hear the older hits, meant that the setlist for this Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune Australian tour was always going to be a long one, much like the tour’s name!
After loosening up with No Ascension, Kilbey welcomed the crowd by announcing ‘Melbourne my spiritual home. I just couldn’t hack the weather’ and noted that the night was going to be ‘Bruce Springsteenian’ in it’s length.
A relatively new gig venue, the ornate Northcote Theatre (originally a cinema) is known as being Northcote’s first electrified building, an apt moniker for tonight’s psychedelic rock fare. Kilbey acknowledged the fact that up until now, he’d played every venue in Melbourne and how wonderful it was to discover something new.
In their 4+ decade history, I don’t think The Church has ever sounded as good as this. With guitar guns Ashley ‘Everywhere’ Naylor and Ian Haug intertwining beautifully and a third fretted friend in Jeffrey Cain included in the blend (as well as playing keys), the result was panoramic. Add to the mix, not one but two drummers in Tim Powles and Nick Meredith, plus Kilbey’s own solid bass, then you’ve got a powerful reverberating engine behind those classic Church chimes.
Anyone who saw our recent Australian Musician interview with Steve Kilbey will know he’s not one for nostalgia and while the hits were there tonight, they were spaced far enough apart for the frontman to cope. The audience of course appreciated it greatly when songs like Metropolis, Reptile, The Unguarded Moment and Under The Milky Way finally appeared. Toward the top end of the set, Waiting For The Sun, a Powderfinger cover was a surprise inclusion, a nod and wink to guitarist Ian Haug’s significant contribution to both bands. The Hypnogogue, the title track of their upcoming album gave us a taste of the quality of work to come.
Tantalised signalled the end of the main set, surely one of the greatest rock songs from this part of the world, with its chaotic verse breaking out into that galloping, urgent melody. Of course the crowd were always going to call them back given the exhilaration of the night.
Grind from Gold Afternoon Fix and You Took from The Blurred Crusade followed, leaving the crowd entranced and still wanting more. Almost With You sealed the deal, igniting a spontaneous full house singalong with a band which is as relevant and important today as they ever were.
No Other You
C’est la vie
The Unguarded Moment
It Could Be Anyone
Old Coast Road
Waiting for the Sun (Powderfinger cover)
Is This Where You Live
Under the Milky Way
Almost With You