posterThe Church Setlist
03/10/15 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe LiveRead More
03/12/15 Cambridge, MA Sinclair
03/13/15 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
03/14/15 Brooklyn, NY Rough Trade
03/15/15 Carrboro, NC Cat's Cradle
03/17/15 Atlanta, GA Terminal West
03/20/15 Austin, TX Buffalo Billiards SXSW
03/21/15 Austin, TX San Jose Hotel SXSW
03/21/15 Austin, TX Waterloo Records SXSW
05/29/15 Barcelona, Spain Primavera Sound
The Sharp Things
Songs from their set were selections from various albums throughout the years, including ‘Demon of Love’ from Here Comes The Sharp Things (2002, originally from a 90s demo tape), and ‘There Will Be Violins’ and ‘Homeless’ from 2005’s Foxes & Hounds. ‘Union Chapel’ was from the newest album and a brand new song called ‘On the Verge of Something Big’ was played with help from "a snazzy computer setup" as Serpa moved from guitar to keys.
The two seemed genuinely excited to be on tour on this, their first show with The Church. Serpa mentioned that the last time he was in the Twin Cities was 17 years ago to see The Flaming Lips at First Avenue, so it had been a while. Musically, their sound was straight ahead pop/rock with a ‘70s AM radio vibe, as any of the songs would fit well alongside early Billy Joel, America, or Seals and Crofts.
The band has had a tumultuous couple of years, with lead vocalist/bassist Steve Kilbey quitting, then reclaiming his band back, and co-guitarist Marty Willson-Piper being deemed “unavailable” for the new album, Further/Deeper (+180 Records) …though you can find him at Pet Sounds Records in Stockholm. In Piper’s absence, the band wisely brought in Ian Haug from fellow Aussie band Powderfinger, to be the Yin, to the Yang of other guitarist, Peter Koppes.
Half the new album was played, including the second song in, ‘Delirious’, with the other songs from among the impressive twenty other studio albums the band has done. Guitar interplay has always been a key component of the band’s sound and Koppes and Haug played off each other well; sometimes sounding almost Arabic, sometimes mystical, and always melodic. The 60-yr old Kilbey had some difficulty seeing the setlist and playfully asked for audience volunteers to read him the next song as they launched into 1982’s ‘You Took’.
“You know, I can remember in 1984, when no one in America liked us… except in Minneapolis!”, Kilbey mentioned, gaining obvious applause before playing the new ‘Toy Head’. 1990’s ‘Metropolis’ was done mid-set and was the first song that many in the audience seemed to recognize.
The show was performed as one long set, versus the two separate sets done earlier in the tour, with the second half being more instrumentally drawn out and ethereal than the first. The steady shaking of a maraca caused Kilbey to go into the first lines of Rupert Holmes’ ‘Escape (The Piña Colada Song)’ before launching into the dreamy 'Lightning White' with extended guitar solos.
The Church's Setlist
The two-song encore featured 2006’s moody ‘Day 5’ with its repeating line, “This kind of thing needs a little secrecy” and ended with 1988’s ‘Reptile’ as Kilbey hissed during the choruses and the band played under appropriate dim green lighting.
“Go home knowing The Church loves you”, Kilbey exclaimed, knowing the feeling was mutual. Amen.
The Church at Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis (05 Mar 2015)