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Borders by Henry Naylor: An Intensely Compelling Look From Two Sides Of War – Adelaide Fringe Review
Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Thu 16 Nov.
The Church are in the house tonight, kicking off their Man Woman Life Death Infinity Tour. There’s no support act scheduled so this evening is going to be 100% Church, and the audience is more than ready for some musical action as the band emerges around 9.00pm. There is something rather fabulous about seeing a five-piece band using four six-string guitars in their opening song. As the final strains of 1992’s Aura fade into the ether, Steve Kilbey switches to bass guitar and greets his audience with an affable “Thank you, good evening”. The set continues with Myrrh and Toy Head; songs separated by a mere 30 years.
After being introduced by Kilbey as a song he hopes they are playing for “one of the last times”, Metropolis goes down a storm. “Just doing it for your sake”, Kilbey adds, to much laughter. Five songs in, the band plays a song from the new record; Another Century grows from an understated beginning into something resembling an epic.
The setlist bounces around the decades, demonstrating the enduring quality of The Church’s musical output. Day 5 features perfectly fitting quotes from The Beatles’ Within You Without You and from the band’s own Invisible. If I wasn’t wearing heavy shoes I’d be in danger of floating away…
Peter Koppes and Ian Haug play fantastic guitar and look great while doing so. Proper Australian rockers. In fact, the whole band looks a million dollars. Tim Powles’ drums are excellent and Jeffrey Cain provides a little bit of everything. The drums and guitars are augmented with swirling soundscapes that add to the trippiness of the music. Kilbey hands over his bass to “special guest” guitar tech Ross Malloy and plays the perfect frontman role in Undersea.
They know they have to play it, and Under The Milky Way is met with roars despite the offhand introduction. Either side of that classic, Tantalised and Reptile provide two of the highlights of the evening. Great versions of great songs.
There are two encores, the first featuring the other “must play” number, The Unguarded Moment. The last song of the evening is the fabulously meandering Miami.
The band has balanced a retrospective showcase with a selection of killer songs from their last two records. Despite the length and the rigour of the journey thus far, the future is looking bright for The Church.
Image courtesy of David Robinson