06 September 2010

The Church helps me make sense of my world


Not *that* Church.

This Church -

I love highway driving, except for when it gets boring and monotonous. Driving by myself is actually more fun than with company because I get to play music really, really loudly, which makes for a lot less monotony.

On the way down to MsFoil's place on Friday I played Devo. Are we not men? We are Devo. Are we not men? D. E.V. O... It brought back some really great memories of other times in other cars singing at the top of my voice with another friend who was actually also really into driving along a highway playing loud music and singing. It's a shame she's not around any more...

Anyway, on the way back I played The Church. A few years ago they released a cracker compilation that you should all buy, because the band not only chose the songs, and the track order, they even get royalties, unlike pretty much every other Church compilation out there. Of course it's not exactly what I'd choose, but then it's hard to narrow down 30 years of back catalogue and make everyone happy, and me being the gracious (shut up) person that I am, I accept this.

Tantalised is on it, and if I play it once, I play it at least three times, and very, very loudly. Not only is it a great studio track, it's the best live song I've ever heard. Well, aside from some jazz and some classical stuff but that's a different sort of experience. Above is the video they made, but with the radio edit. Below is a clip someone else has made, but with the album edit:

One of the many times I've seen these gents play was March 2000 at the Metro. I had partaken of a certain party substance, or to be less coy, dropped some acid. My friends and I stood centre stage as per usual, and the boys came on... all dressed in white shirts and jeans. As far as I know they've never done that before or since, at least, not in Australia. They kicked off and were backlit by rotating gels like a rainbow. The effect was extraordinary, and I think everyone, altered state or not, was gobsmacked. It was like arriving to a dinner party you've been looking forward to and discovering it's actually a surprise party for you. Surprise!

And ladies, may I just add that Steve Kilbey in white jeans is an extremely, extremely fine sight.

The last song on the set list was Tantalised (two encores came after but that was just the icing on an already mindblowingly-thickly-iced cake). It's an astounding song live. I don't know how to explain it. The bass is your heartbeat, speeding up, slowing down. The twin lead guitars are blood rushing through your veins. The drum is your head pounding with thought, frustration, desire, anticipation, adrenaline, fear, excitement, potential. Dense layers enfold you, smothered and cocooned at the same time - which is the essence of The Church to me, I want full audio immersion when I listen to them so that I can hear all the tiny ghosts at the end of the hall that you can't see, but know are there.

Why do I always get run away with my feelings with The Church? If you know the song, also imagine it about 10 minutes long and with strobe lighting. This doesn't even begin to do it justice (although it does have some Kilbey White Jean Action):

I had broken up with Wizbang. I was about to travel to Europe. Two people I love hadn't died (only one at that stage). I hadn't met Tiny Toasty's father and discovered what fear and litigation was really all about. I wasn't yet a mum, and a single one at that (which is certainly better than still being with the father, but still limiting at times). I was at the top of the world, or at least quite close, where I hadn't been for such a long time. I really wish I could get back up there again. At this point in time I'm writing that with a certain modicum of hope, not hopelessness, which is the way I've felt for the past couple of years. It's still relatively neutral, but I feel there's more positive than negative now.

Here's to the long climb back up. I think the view will be splendid. Just remember the Thermos, will you?