Monday, March 27, 2023

The Church – Thalia Hall, Chicago, Illinois 3/26/23 (images and words by Mark Kadzielawa)

The Church made history in Chicago playing songs from their new album, The Hypnogogue, and plenty of classic tracks from their 40 year-old career.  In fact, it was probably hard to narrow down a set list that would make everyone happy.  The Church provided a very nice breakdown, and a great show.

This was also the first introduction of the new line up to the Chicago audience.  The three-guitar blend provided an unbelievable sonic mix of sounds that elevated the songs to a new level.  It was absolutely amazing to see this band deliver track after track with so much attention to detail, and still having fun with little improvised parts here and there.  The new songs were absolutely brilliant live, and the old tracks got a new lease on life with this combination of players.  It was a great experience all the way through.

Vocalist/bassist, Steve Kilbey, looked happy and completely content with how things turned out for his band.  He was having fun on stage, even improvising his own version of Hey Joe in honor of the band’s tour bus driver, whose name you can only guess.  Great guitar interaction between Ian Haug and Ashely Naylor.  What a great understanding these two guitar players managed to develop in such a short amount of time.  Add, multi-instrumentalist, Jeffrey Cain, into the mix, and true magic begins to take place.  Drummer, Tim Powles was forced to sit out this tour due to visa problem.  Nicholas Meredith was handpicked and schooled by Powles.  Meredith was absolutely marvelous behind the kit.  He provided great feel for the songs, and will continue to be part of The Church family alongside Powles.  Great songs, outstanding musicianship, and blinding creativity!

Much has to be said about the new music from The Hypnogogue.  Those songs were received enthusiastically.  As good as the classic material is, it was obvious how much more the new tracks stood out from the rest.  The Church could’ve easily played the new album in its entirety, and that would’ve been fully justified.  This could be the defining moment for the group, despite its 40-year history.  The musical leap forward is evident here!

This concert, like many other shows from The Church, was once again a spiritual experience.  At one point you realize this band is playing these songs just for you, despite the number of people in the audience.  The beauty of it is that it’s a shared experience that appeals to everyone's individual senses.  There were a lot of surprises the band prepared for the fans, but what was most attractive thing was the actual delivery, and how they did it.  Notice, no songs titles were given in this review for that reason alone.  Add some creative lights, and the charm of a place like Thalia Hall, and you’re in for an evening you won’t forget anytime soon.

Mark Kadzielawa


No comments:

Post a Comment