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The Church & The Afghan Whigs

Special Guest: Ed Harcourt

Saturday,

July 6th

Saturday, July 6th

6:30 pm doors, 8 pm show
All ages welcome
$45 advance, $50 day of show, $55 advance 21+ Reserved Balcony, $60 day of show 21+ Reserved Balcony

The Church

The Church

Few bands enter their fifth decade of making music with all the fierce creative energy of their early years. Even fewer bands are like The Church.

Experiencing a renaissance of sorts with their worldwide critically-hailed 26th album The Hypnogogue and a world tour that took them through North America, the UK, Europe and Australia, The Church was met with fervent audiences who embraced not only their early catalog but their new material as well. UNCUT encapsulated this idea when they wrote in their 8 out of 10 review that 'The Hypnogogue is like every other Church album, and nothing quite like any of them; both statements are intended as compliments.'

A monumental concept album, The Hypnogogue found The Church honing in on their bespoke sound without retreading creative steps, unveiling a cinematic record that couples their trademark psychedelic-splashed indie rock with a dystopian narrative - a first for the band. Featuring pre-album release singles 'The Hypnogogue', 'C'est La Vie' and 'No Other You,' the album offers a pool of melancholy tones and psychedelic swells, transporting listeners to another realm, guided by its striking science fiction narrative. Reading like a short story from visionary science fiction author Philip K. Dick ('A Scanner Darkly,' 'Electric Dreams'), The Hypnogogue is a retro-futuristic, dystopian tale that revolves around a fictional machine (the 'Hypnogogue') that extracts music directly from subconscious dreams.  

As fans' love of the band grew with the advent of the new record and its new direction, critics embraced them too. Rolling Stone quipped, 'In full flight, Kilbey plays the bass with a power and intent once reserved for ascending Lancaster bomber pilots in WWII.' Vive Le Rock rated it a 9 out of 10 and calls the album 'a great leap forward, thanks to the incredible melting pot of talent that Kilbey is now stirring.' American Songwriter praised, 'On The Hypnogogue, the quintet creates fluid moods, moving in idiosyncratic directions while maintaining the shadowy gaze that has defined The Church's style.' Classic Rock hailed, 'The Hypnogogue finds [Steve Kilbey] close to the top of his game... The best bands have the capacity to surprise even after decades at the coal face. That The Church remain so vigorous and vibrant is a delightful surprise indeed.' 

To continue the excitement that the music world at large was experiencing, Steve Kilbey and band decided to further the storyline of the Hypnogogue by returning to the studio to add additional tracks for a deluxe edition of The Hypnogogue to be released this Fall 2023. While the digital companion to the album will be available worldwide on DSPs, a special physical deluxe edition will be available to purchase as a standalone physical format at merch on the upcoming U.S. dates.

Starting in 1980, The Church continued expanding their highly cinematic and atmospheric blend of indie rock, shimmering post-punk, icy dreampop and psychedelic post-rock without retreading their steps.  Beginning with classic early albums 'Of Skins and Heart', 'The Blurred Crusade', 'Heyday' and 'Starfish'. 'Starfish' was the 1988 album that broke into the mainstream and gave The Church the international hit 'Under the Milky Way'. The hit single has been regarded as one of the most influential and recognizable Australian rock anthems of all time.

The renowned five-piece line-up is made up of bassist, vocalist and founder Steve Kilbey along with long- time collaborator, drummer and producer Tim Powles, who's remained a staple across 17 albums since 1994. Joining them is guitarist Ian Haug, who has been strumming with the band since 2013 and formerly of Australian rock icons Powderfinger. Touring multi-instrumentalist talent Jeffrey Cain is now a full-time member since the departure of Peter Koppes in early 2020. Rounding out the members is the newly recruited Ashley Naylor, one of Australia's finest guitarists and is a long-time member of Paul Kelly's touring band. Entering their fourth decade as a band, The Church continue to remain a treasured creative force.

 

The Afghan Whigs

The Afghan Whigs

How Do You Burn?

From their inception in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1986, The Afghan Whigs have never played by the rules of convention. Against the plaid-and-grunge-shaded backdrop of the early-to-mid-‘90s, the Whigs stood apart from their contemporaries by virtue of attiring in suits and being way more likely to slide up on a Marvin Gaye groove than rehash a Black Sabbath riff.

They stand apart still. Twenty-six years down the line, bands simply aren't supposed to be making the most vaulting and thrilling music of their lives. Yet that's precisely what the Whigs have done with ‘How Do You Burn?', their ninth album overall and following on from the brace of widely-acclaimed records they've made previously since re-grouping in 2012, ‘Do to the Beast' (2014) and ‘In Spades' (2017). ‘How Do You Burn?' picks up the baton laid down by each of those records and runs it to the horizon.

Work on it was begun in September 2020 - the COVID pandemic having forced Whigs frontman/songwriter Greg Dulli to abandon plans to tour his highly-praised solo album, ‘Random Desire' - and continued over the next 14 months.

The global pandemic dictated also that the band record largely apart from, and in different locations to, each other: Dulli, his co-producer Christopher Thorn and drummer Patrick Keeler together in California; bassist John Curley, guitarist Jon Skibic and strings man Rick Nelson laying down and engineering their own parts in Cincinnati, New Jersey and New Orleans, respectively.

'Once we got the system down, we started flying,' says Dulli.

Just one striking aspect of ‘How Do You Burn?' is the sheer scale of its sound: kaleidoscopic, multi-layered and widescreen. Key to this, Dulli credits Thorn, a contributor to both ‘Do to the Beast' and ‘In Spades' and with whom he went on to co-produce ‘Random Desire'. 'Christopher's become my go-to guy,' he says. 'This record is the culmination of all of the work we've done with each other. I mean, these songs are produced. They're productions.'

From the propulsive, screeching-tyres-on-asphalt rush of opening track ‘I'll Make You See God', ‘How Do You Burn?' unfolds cinematically, too; and with the brooding atmosphere of a neon-lit neo-noir.

'It absolutely works as a piece,' Dulli says. 'I like to look at song titles as scenes or chapters. They slot in their place to move along the abstract narrative. Up top, it sounds like an action film. Then, you get a character study and a seeker emerges.'

That seeker is Dulli himself, of course; here as swaggering, enigmatic and darkly charismatic as ever, and singing up a storm. 'I really kind of explored my abilities in that respect,' he says. 'And thusly sang the fuck out of these songs.'

For his supporting cast, Dulli called upon several serial collaborators including the late Mark Lanegan, who was a regular in Dulli's Twilight Singers, a partner in The Gutter Twins and a close friend. Lanegan makes his Afghan Whigs debut singing backup vocals on two tracks. 'It was Mark who named the album,' Dulli remarked.

Susan Marshall, who sang on the Whigs album 1965, returns to the fray for 'Catch A Colt,' one of the album's standout tracks, loose-limbed like ‘Some Girls'-era Rolling Stones and with the liquid polyrhythms of Fleetwood Mac's ‘Tusk'.

The multi-talented Van Hunt, who toured with the Whigs in 2012 and guested on ‘Do to the Beast', brings his stacked-up, wall-of-sound vocals to both the plunging, voodoo-blues of ‘Jyja' and the audacious ‘Take Me There', transforming the latter, says Dulli, 'into this feral gospel song. We sing really well together, but what Van does production-wise... it's unrelenting.'

Then there's Marcy Mays, lead vocalist on ‘My Curse', the torch-song highlight of 1993's seminal ‘Gentlemen' album, reprising her role here on the celestial ‘Domino and Jimmy', playing Stevie Nicks to Dulli's Lindsey Buckingham. 'I wrote that song with Marcy in mind,' says Dulli. 'No-one sounds like her; she's got an incredibly unique, emotional and evocative voice.'

For his part, Dulli cites the seductive, blue-eyed soul of ‘Please, Baby, Please' as his own personal favourite track. 'That's me trying to write ‘Rainy Night in Georgia.''

Fittingly, ‘How Do You Burn?' reaches a towering climax with ‘In Flames', a soul-rock showstopper rolling Led Zeppelin, Warren Zevon and Prince into one. 'I don't know what that song is,' says Dulli, 'only that it's bizarre and I love it.'

The Afghan Whigs - Dulli, Curley, Nelson, Keeler and with Christopher Thorn now joining the band on guitar - will take ‘How Do You Burn?' out on the road from this summer. Beyond that, says Dulli, their future is gloriously wide open.

Venue Info

Host to world-renowned performers, the Crystal Ballroom is an awe-inspiring venue with its vaulted ceilings, grand chandeliers, giant wallscapes and famous "floating" dance floor.

House Rules

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