Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Church rekindle an entire era in Orlando with their 'Starfish' anniversary tour

Posted By on Thu, Apr 25, 2019 at 2:44 PM

click to enlarge The Church at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Church at the Social
THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
The Church, The Social, April 23

Only certified legends can brag about contributing more than a single lightning-in-a-bottle song to any canon. And since no vintage alternative playlist could legitimately be considered definitive without bona fide anthems "Under the Milky Way" and "Reptile," count the Church among them. And since those iconic hits came on the same album, that one-two has effectively etched 1988’s Starfish into the books as a classic.


click to enlarge The Church at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Church at the Social
Well, the 30th anniversary tour of that magnum opus for the Australian alt gods has been such a big celebration that it’s now on its second American leg, which is catchier than the 31st anniversary tour. This Orlando performance was a vivid live reminder of the Paisley Underground elegance of Starfish and why its mood, clarity and precision positioned the Church well to break through from the college rock underground to penetrate the mainstream, even if briefly. 
click to enlarge The Church at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Church at the Social
click to enlarge The Church at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Church at the Social
The sparkling "Under the Milky Way" has been a mainstay in alternative clubs throughout the decades, in Orlando years that's from Visage on through to Independent Bar. Like Echo & the Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon," it even got a 21st century injection from its prominence in Donnie Darko. Hearing the song played live reaffirmed its timelessness. And though it didn't soar nearly as high on stage as the heavens it attains on record, that famous bagpipe climax (which isn't really bagpipes at all but more of an E-bow effect a la Big Country) is pure pop majesty.

click to enlarge The Church at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Church at the Social
click to enlarge The Church at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Church at the Social
The sharper, edgier "Reptile" – the choice cut for the deeper heads – was the most charged moment of the evening on both the stage and the floor. Other shining moments were the ringing hooks of the Bunnymen-esque "Spark" and the twinkling dusk of "Lost," "North South East and West" and "Hotel Womb," all proof of the album as a rich and rounded work.

click to enlarge The Church at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Church at the Social
click to enlarge The Church at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Church at the Social
Played live from beginning to end, Starfish was the clear feature and focus. But after a brief intermission, the band did an encore of other selections from their lengthy catalog.



click to enlarge The Church at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Church at the Social
click to enlarge The Church at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Church at the Social
Age was a bit of a factor at times, as can be expected after over three decades. But the album was played with fullness and fidelity. Because that record was such a standard-bearer of an exceptional chapter of music history, the nostalgia that rang in the hearts of this full house of veteran scenesters was deep, not cheap. Revisiting an old, beloved album is always a nice thing. When the original authors open up a live portal back to that place, however, that's a waking dream.

click to enlarge The Church at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Church at the Social
click to enlarge The Church at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The Church at the Social
Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com


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