LIVE REVIEW: The Church @ El Rey Theatre 2/2

February 06. 2011 | By Liz Ortega

The Church @ El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles 2/2/11

Australian rock group, The Church, kicked off the Future, Past, Perfect Tour last Wednesday night at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. Fans were invited to a very ethereal and intimate evening with the Church, performing 3 classic albums in their entirety.

Starting off the night was the very dream-like, mind-altering album, Untitled #23 (2009). Lead vocalist/bassist, Steve Kilbey sang so beautifully on “Deadman’s Hand,” “Pangaea,” and “Happenstance.” The psychedelic guitar drones of Marty Wilson-Piper and Peter Koppes combined with Craig Wilson’s spacey overtones on keyboard created a subliminal sound that was almost hypnotic. Literally. People around me were in a daze.

The Church @ El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles 2/2/11

The mood was very serene and tranquil inside the historic art deco building, that is, until Steve Kilbey’s rugged vocal styling and Tim Powles’ pulsating drum work in the musically deranged “Space Saviour” jolted everyone back to reality. Things lightened up a bit after Kilbey referred to a lyric sheet for the very somber song, “Anchorage.” After thirty years in music, a lapse in memory is bound to happen, so it was a bit humorous to see.

After a quick intermission and wardrobe change, the band was back on stage ready to commence a dark, alternative rock journey into the 1992 album, Priest = Aura.

The Church @ El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles 2/2/11

The Church @ El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles 2/2/11

“Love equals hate,” announced Kilbey as the band launched into the sexy goth-rock song “Aura.” The audience seemed to be more alive this time around, dancing in place, swaying from side to side with their eyes shut tight, as though they were making love to the music. Others remained still, utterly engulfed in every infectious guitar chord, bass line and harmony. The band continued their set with “Ripple,” “Mistress,” and “Chaos.

As the final intermission concluded, the audience returned to their respective places, eagerly awaiting the final album of the night, Starfish (1988). This was the Church’s biggest selling album in America, boasting notable songs like “Under the Milky Way,” and “Reptile.” Regrettably, I made the decision to miss the latter part of the performance. I was in a comatose mode and could not endure hour three of stripped down Church songs. This was indeed a monumental affair that happens once in a lifetime for any fan. I guess I’m just not that big of a Church fan.

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