With 25 albums over a 37-year history, psychedelic rockers The Church are Australian music icons.
Of all the great Australian bands, The Church has endured never splitting up or reforming to cash-in on their legacy, only changing line-ups every now and again.
If anything, The Church have grown stronger as a band as they showed to a sold-out crowd at The Triffid in Brisbane (30 November) over the course of a two-hour set without supports.
The mood was set before the band took the stage, with the venue being filled with psychedelic drones and chants.
Once the intro music faded away, the band arrived one at a time each adding textures to an ambient piece. The splashing cymbals, synths and guitar drones bloomed into the swirling ‘Aura’, with frontman Steve Kilbey crooning mystical poetry over the top.
The band is in fine form throughout. Original members Steve and guitarist Peter Koppes have amassed a timeless collection of tunes across their career, and Steve’s charisma shined throughout.
The addition of drummer Tim Powles and former Powderfinger guitarist Ian Haug added a lot of muscle and texture to older songs like ‘Myrrh’, driving fans to squeeze through the crowd to take in Peter and Ian’s chiming guitars.
While older hits brought in fans, songs from new album ‘Man Woman Life Death Infinity’ were just as well received, despite Steve’s self-deprecating asides. ‘I Don’t Know How I Don’t Know Why’ is the kind of catchy psychedelia the band has built their name on.
A personal highlight was second encore opener ‘Dark Waltz’, a sleazy, sneering swamp-rocker that drew faithful fans back just as they thought the night was over.
It wouldn’t be a Church gig without the favourites popping up. After Ian’s guitar malfunctioned and Steve teasing he’d forgotten how it goes, the jangling acoustic chords of ‘Under The Milky Way’ elicit squeals of excitement from fans who sang along.
The undoubtable highlight was ‘The Unguarded Moment’, a perfect piece of pop that introduced the world to The Church. The song’s melancholic chorus still hits, sending shivers through my body.
It’s a magical song, but The Church showed that magic has never left them fuelling a career full of dazzling songs and strong performances.