Live at The Belly Up Tavern
March 28, 2023 Review by Fatima Kelley
In a world of the 24-hour news cycle where the average attention span is 40 seconds, keeping the crowd engaged for a two-hour show seems like an impossible task. Despite that, The Church navigated the task effortlessly, making the sold-out Belly Up Tavern feel as cozy and intimate as a private living room performance that spoke to each fan individually, and made them feel as if they were the only one in the room.

Their relaxed interactions with the audience created a captivating and conversational atmosphere that resembled that of a night out with friends rather than a performance the audience would simply stand back and witness.

The Australian band responsible for “Under the Milky Way,” “Metropolis,” and “Reptile” is touring in support of their new album, “The Hypnogogue.”
“The Hypnogogue” is their most refreshing album to date; a true progressive rock concept album that moved past their comfort zone, sparking curiosity in the listeners, forcing them to play the album on repeat – I certainly did and still catch myself doing so.
The album is a “retro-futuristic, dystopian narrative that revolves around a fictional machine (the “Hypnogogue”) that extracts music directly from subconscious dreams.” The band released three singles – “The Hypnogogue,” “C’est La Vie,” and “No Other You” – and is now touring the country to share it with fans.

While many shows are over produced, over rehearsed, and may be completely spot on from a technical point, they lose some of the grittiness that contributes to the personality of a concert. This evening felt spontaneous, unfiltered, and simply magical. The fans’ reactions to classic tunes and newly-debuted material alike are a testament to the craftsmanship that allowed them to withstand the test of time and remain relative even in this quick-changing society.
With no opener needed, they started off with “Ascendence,” then “Destination,” and “Metropolis,” front-man/bassist/founder Steve Kilbey was joined by Tim Powles (drums/vocals/guitar), Ian Haug (guitar), Jeffrey Cain (guitar/keys/bass), and Ashley Naylor (guitar).

The crowd enjoyed “Columbus,” but the energy level jumped with the favorite, “No Other You.” A snippet of “Angie” from The Rolling Stones was also a crowd pleaser.
“Kings,” “Is This Where You Live,” “The Hypnogogue,” and “Hotel Womb” led into “Antarctica” and “Old Coast Road.” They continued their set with “Albert Ross,” “Fly,” “One Day,” “Comedown,” “C’est la vie,” and of course, their massive hit, “Under the Milky Way.”
After playing “Grind” and “Second Bridge,” they said goodnight and departed the stage, but came back for an encore with “You Took.”

It was a phenomenal chance to witness the band’s pull live and see the fans’ unfiltered reactions to all the new songs. While obviously there are some classic fan favorites in the setlist, I have to say the highlights of the night for me were in their new material. “Second Bridge” is probably my favorite, with its beautifully haunting melody, which sounded even richer live.

The Belly Up served as the perfect playground for the band, adding a sense of atmospheric intimacy their sound could foster on.
If you get a chance to see The Church live, do so – you will not be disappointed!


by Fatima Kelley Photography



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