The Church at ACL live

Concert Review: The Church at 3Ten ACL Live

Concert Review: The Church at 3Ten ACL Live: Psych-rock vets play fan favorites and new tracks for a packed house. 

It’s been 2 years since Australia alternative icons The Church played Austin, and judging by last night’s rapturous crowd at 3Ten ACL Live, absence has only made the heart grow fonder.

The band played a lively set of fan favorites, hits and new tunes (from their forthcoming album Man Woman Life Death Infinity), kicking off with the meditative anthem Aura.

That hypnotic song (off their underrated 1992 epic Priest=Aura), featuring dreamy synths and vocalist/bassist Steve Kilbey’s stream of consciousness lyrics, proved the perfect opener, setting the tone for all that followed.

Click here for The Church’s Priest=Aura Turns 25

Kilbey’s self-deprecating sense of humor was on display throughout. He goofed on the music video from their 1990 hit Metropolis, before launching into the track (which sounded fantastic by the way), and after dealing with some minor sound issues, quipped We’re just soldiers in the war of rock and roll! This was followed by stalwart guitarist Peter Koppes asking Are we winning? With a deadpan expression, he replied No! The crowd ate it up.

Click here for my recent interview with Steve Kilbey

New songs Another Century and Undersea went over well, containing classic Church DNA–transportive, gossamer concoctions that stood right alongside their classic tracks.

Click here for The Church’s Gold Afternoon Fix Turns 25

1985’s Tantalized was another highlight with roaring guitar feedback, pulsing bass and rollicking drums casting shimmering soundscapes, with guitarist Ian Haug blasting out wah-wah guitar wails. It was a fantastic moment to study the band’s interplay  and the sonic architecture formed from their interlocking guitar parts and shifting rhythms (drummer Tim Powles was a marvel throughout).

The band touched on their biggest hits from their 1988 classic Starfish in a one-two punch: Under The Milky Way sounded as lovely and timeless ever (with Koppes nailing that eternally transfixing bagpipe-ish guitar solo) while the rippling, majestic Reptile cast a spell upon the crowd.

The band were backed up by Remy Zero’s Jeffrey Cain, who pulled double duty on guitars and keyboards, totally nailing the boomerang guitar fills on North, South, East and West (another Starfish chestnut).

The band returned for two encores. The first centered on newer material: the sonic odyssey Miami (from 2014’s Further Deeper) and Dark Waltz, another track off their forthcoming album. For their final encore, they dusted off 1981 gem The Unguarded Moment (which Kilbey joked sold four copies in Canada upon its release) and the rousing Space Saviour which saw him hand off bass duties and go into full-on frontman mode.

The Church offer a communal concert experience like no other. I remain a proud, unwavering member of their congregation.

The Church 3Ten Setlist
Toy Head
Another Century
North, South, East and West
Day 5
I Don’t Know How I Don’t Know
Under the Milky Way

Dark Waltz

Encore 2:
The Unguarded Moment
Space Saviour

Pre-order The Church’s ‘Man Woman Life Death Infinity’

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Middle Aged Gen-Exer obsessed with Alternative rock, metal, cult movies, comic books and cable TV.

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One Response to Concert Review: The Church at 3Ten ACL Live

  1. Rob Philpott November 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

    Really enjoyed your review. The drummer’s last name is Powles, BTW.

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