The Church transcends time in Dallas


Nicolas Henderson, Staff Writer

“34 years ago I never would have expected to be performing this album in Dallas in 2016.” 


That sentiment from lead singer and bassist, Steve Kilbey, of Australian rock band, The Church, perfectly defined the atmosphere of the evening.


The band returned to Dallas for the first time since 2006 to perform two sets, the first consisted of 1982’s The Blurred Crusade in it’s entirety, while the second set featured tracks from its two most recent albums, Further/Deeper and Untitled #23, alongside other tracks from their extensive career.


Aside from the ethereal, almost spiritual aspect to The Church’s guitar-infused sound, the venue further added to the mystical

The Church perform live at Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas. This was the first night of the tour.
The Church perform live at Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas. This was the first night of the tour. Photo by Nicolas Henderson. 

vibe of the event. Sons of Hermann Hall, a 116 year old Dallas icon, is still used by two Dallas lodges. The venue is also reported to be one of the most haunted buildings in Dallas. This made the perfect setting for a band who’s lead singer was selling Tarot Cards at the merchandise stand.


“I see we are experimenting with minimalist lighting this evening,” Kilbey sarcastically remarked, noting the lack of typical spotlights. After a special meet and greet and soundcheck for V.I.P. ticketholders, the band took the stage around 8 p.m. and went right into the first track from The Blurred Crusade, “Almost With You”. They quickly followed with outstanding renditions of “When You Were Mine” and “Field Of Mars”.


“In true Church form we are performing an album we never released in the U.S.,” Kilbey remarked on a few songs added into the set.


That didn’t phase the sold-out crowd of approximately 200, most of which knew every song by heart.


Before “To Be In Your Eyes” Kilbey remarked that the band likes to make fun of him for this song because it was written about his girlfriend at the time.


“And she’s here tonight,” drummer Tim Powles quipped, to which Kilbey quickly retorted “sorry Gladys”.

Steve Kilbey (left), Peter Koppes (center), and Ian Haug (right) perform "Laurel Canyon" at Sons of Hermann Hall. The Dallas stop was the first show of the tour.
Steve Kilbey (left), Peter Koppes (center), and Ian Haug (right) perform “Laurel Canyon” at Sons of Hermann Hall. The Dallas stop was the first show of the tour. Photo by Nicolas Henderson. 


Drummer Tim Powles and guitarist Peter Koppes were in great spirits the whole show, constantly joking around with each other and audience members throughout. At one point Powles bolted off the stage, with Koppes quickly following behind. I have no idea what they were doing, but it made for a very entertaining Dallas themed improv from Kilbey, with lyrics referencing Deep Ellum and Malcolm X Boulevard. After a couple minutes of waiting, Kilbey, with a look of almost disbelief on his face, looks to the crowd and says “what would you do if you were me?”


Finally Powles and Koppes returned and the band broke into a great rendition of “On Angel Street”. The energy was at its most electric when the band performed two classics off of its 1988 album Starfish, “Reptile” and of course “Under The Milky Way”.


It was during the last song of the main set, “Delirious”, that things got weird. The band made a couple more errors than usual

The Church performs "On Angel Street" live at Sons of Hermann Hall. Photo by Nicolas Henderson.
The Church performs “On Angel Street” live at Sons of Hermann Hall. Photo by Nicolas Henderson.

during the song, but considering how spot on The Church always is, it had no impact on the overall quality of the show. After one small tempo error by Powles he and Koppes sported big smiles until the end of the song, aware of the mistake but taking it lightly. Kilbey on the other hand was not amused. In the last couple of songs I began to notice Koppes constant joking around seemed to be getting on Kilbey’s nerves (even during soundcheck I noticed this a little). When Powles made the tempo mistake I immediately saw Kilbey’s frustration. He finished the song somewhat half-heatedly and clearly frustrated before turning around, yelling something at Powles, and then storming angrily off of the stage.


The rest of the band minus Koppes quickly followed suit, clearly confused by what had  just occurred. Koppes stayed on stage trying to keep the crowd entertained while he waited to see if Kilbey would come back.


“This has never happened to us before, ever,” Koppes told the crowd.
Despite Koppes attempts to get Kilbey back on stage to finish the show, Kilbey did not return and thus the show was over. While the ending was truly unexpected and it would have been nice to hear the last two songs, it was an ending that only added to the mystic aura of The Church and the entire evening as a whole. It was quite fitting for a band whose entire basis is to throw out the rule book and do things its way. This was the first show of the tour, but you wouldn’t know that based off of their performance. The Church is one of the best live bands of all time, and it was incredible to be able to witness them in such an intimate setting.