The Church @ Rams Head on Stage – April 17, 2019

The Church are one of those 80s bands that unfortunately slip under a lot of radars. Their hit album “Starfish” was released in 1988 which was at the tail end and dying breath of new wave as most knew it. This tour presents The Church performing “Starfish” in its entirety on its 30th anniversary as well as a collection of other songs from the band’s catalogue.

Rams Head on Stage is an intimate room of chairs and dining tables. Almost anywhere you are seated feels like you’re right on top of the stage. You’re seated at a table with the opportunity to buy food, drinks and alcohol from waiters/waitresses. It’s a bit of different experience as you may be at an interesting viewing angle, but you’re so close that it doesn’t become an important factor.

The crowd was full of people wearing t-shirts from days past. I spot Morrissey t-shirts and other 80s favorites from the goths.

The show was divided in two sets, the first being “Starfish” in its entirety.

The set opened on the haunting “Destination”, which started the night off right before the band launched into the captivating hit “Under The Milky Way”.

Frontman singer/bassist Steve Kilbey was always interacting with the crowd, making it a very personal show. “It’s great to be back at Ram’s Head. You know, my mother always pronounced it “Mary-land”.

Driving on the band delivered excellent renditions of “Blood Money”, “Lost” and “North, South, East and West”.

Kilbey threw it back to record players and taking dust off the needle – how it makes a big pop sound as you switch to side 2 before the band launched into the songs from the second side of “Starfish”.

“Spark” and “Antenna” were proof of The Church’s lasting influence on post-punk.

Guitarist Peter Koppes joined in the crowd interaction as an audience member shouted “brilliant” after the band played “Antenna”. Koppes then quipped back, “Is that all?”

Next was the incendiary “Reptile” which was met by the most applause of any song the band played that night and even warranted a standing ovation. The song couldn’t have been better live.

The band blasted through the starfish album and ended on the expansive sounds and distant echoes presented on “A New Season” and “Hotel Womb”.

After a short intermission the band returned to deliver a second set of delightful songs from the band’s extensive catalogue.

“Metropolis” showcased how truly beautiful The Church’s more dream pop songs have.

They continue on with more songs that transport the soul: “Another Century”, “Sealine”, “Day 5” and “Ripple”.

The crowd enjoyed the newer songs just as much as the “Starfish” set.

Kilbey stated during the set, “You’ve got your rock, you’ve got your roll… you need your fucking and”

At the end of the night The Church had delivered two hours of incredible music to an ecstatic crowd. They proved their place in music history and that “Starfish” is still as fresh and emotionally gripping as it was in 1988.

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Author: whatisfrederick

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