I went to go see Australian alt-rocker The Church last night at the Roxy. Although I’ve always enjoyed their music, I don’t know that I would describe myself as a huge fan. But there is something particularly satisfying about seeing a band that has been around for as long as they have with virtually no personnel changes and a deep catalog of songs to choose from.
In fact, this tour was billed as their 30th anniversary tour, and they are celebrating by playing semi-acoustic shows with a unique twist: they are playing one song from each of their 18 albums, performed in reverse order. This format worked beautifully, as newer fans could enjoy their recent tracks, hardcore fans could savor the nuggets from their older records, and the surface fans could cheer for when they played “Under the Milky Way,” their monster hit from 1988. They even gave everybody in attendance a nicely detailed program and a free copy of their latest EP, a value-added treat that more bands, especially veteran ones, should consider mimicking to keep their dedicated followers all the more dedicated.
I sometimes wonder how many of the bands currently rocking our airwaves will last as long as The Church – odds are very few will. So I find them worth celebrating, even if I don’t listen to their records as often as a lot of other bands.
Actually, now that I’ve seen them in concert three times in the past seven years (more than only a handful of other bands), not to mention poking my head in to watch their Morning Becomes Eclectic session last year, maybe I should starting considering myself a big fan…
Eric J. Lawrence