By: Larry & Robyn Kaiser
July 8, 2017: Psychedelic Rock band from Australia, The Church, closed out their United States summer tour with an intimate show at Daryl’s House in Pawling, NY. Owned and operated by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Daryl Hall (of Hall & Oates fame), the rustic, country-home feel seemed an odd venue for psych-rockers The Church. Their last New York stops were at Rough Trade in Brooklyn and The NYCB Theatre in Westbury. While the stage was smaller than they’re used to, and the crowd was mostly seated at tables enjoying dinner and drinks, The Church, fronted by Steve Kilbey, brought their energy, intensity, and manners.
No Church show is complete without the kindness and appreciation of Kilbey, who opens every show thanking the audience for being there, and continually expresses the band’s thanks and admiration throughout the show. Kilbey and band mates Peter Koppes (guitar and vocals), Ian Haug (guitar and vocals), and Tim Powles (drums and vocals) began their evening with soundcheck for a crowd of 45 people, followed by a meet-and-greet, where everyone had one-on-one time with the band.
Haug, former guitarist for Powderfinger, has been with The Church since late 2013. Sonic Sound Magazine spoke with him over a beer at the bar.
SSM: Nice to see you here – we actually were right up at the stage at Rough Trade in Brooklyn when you guys played a few years back.
Ian Haug: That was a great room. Do you know about this place? It’s my first time here.
SSM: Ours’ too. We’ve seen episodes of “Live From Daryl’s House” on tv, but never been here.
IH: I was having brekkies [Australian for breakfast] here this morning, and there was a great bluegrass band playing. It was pretty cool. Looking forward to playing tonight. We’ll see how this one is!
SSM: So Ian… what are the chances of a Powderfinger reunion?
IH: [Smiles.] No chance. [Pauses.} Well, you never know. Plenty of bands get together after 5 years, 10 years… sometime we’ll jump on [stage] at gigs here and there, but there’s nothing planned.
Sonic Sound Magazine also had some one-on-one time with front man Steve Kilbey.
SSM: Steve, it’s wonderful to meet you. Thank you for doing this.
Steve Kilbey: Of course, thank you for coming tonight.
SSM: It’s our pleasure. In fact, this is our last show in New York. [Writers are moving to Florida.]
SK: Really? And you came to this show? Wow. Hey – we’re playing Florida in September/October [previously unannounced information.] I think Orlando? We’ve played Pensacola I think. Why are you going to Florida?
SSM: We bought a house there, and recently got married. In fact, our wedding party walked down the aisle at our ceremony to “Almost With You.”
SK: [mouth opens] Really? You walked down the aisle to my song?
SSM: Yes, the Symphony version [from a live recording of The Church with the Sydney Symphony.]
SK: Well isn’t that something.
Sonic Sound Magazine was also able to have a few minutes with Powles. Walking around the bar barefoot (as per usual – he plays barefoot).
SSM: Tim, two of our favorite shows were the 30th Anniversary Tour, where you played one song from each album in reverse chronological and when you played at B.B. King’s in New York City and performed Priest=Aura, Untitled #23, and Starfish in their entirety.
Tim Powles: That was one of my favorite shows!
SSM: Yes! It was an amazing show.
TP: Let me tell you, I was so excited that night. The original drummer from Priest=Aura was there that night, and at the end of the show, I was so proud. I was like “I fucking nailed it!” I didn’t even care if it was big-headed of me. I was just really proud of myself that night. [Laughs.]
After the band made their rounds, they retired to the green room area to relax and prepare for the show. They took the stage at 8:15pm, playing a 16-song, 2-hour set. They opened with the powerful “Aura” from the album Priest = Aura, and continued the energy. Haug and Koppes played through the swath of guitars, both 6- and 12-string, while Kilbey raged on his bass and Powles kept driving the beat, barefoot.
The crowd was an eclectic mix of younger and older people in the crowd. Fans had driven in from as far away as Ohio for this show. The sold-out crowd of 150 hung on every note the band played. The setlist included their hits, two new songs, and plenty of one-liners from Kilbey, including an introduction to their hit “Metropolis” where he says “It hit Number 1 in all the countries around the globe.. we all booked our chalets in Switzerland for holiday…” The track Metropolis is interesting to hear live, as the album version did not have a live drummer on it – a drum machine was used. However, Powles brought out the stops and used a tambourine to hit the cymbals, adding depth to the percussion.
They debuted two new songs, “Another Century” and “Don’t Know Why.” They’ve been back in the studio and have a new album in the works, however no release date has been announced as of press time. This tour is their first tour in over a year. According to Powles, “We’re still getting used to Marty [Willson-Piper, former band mate] being gone [he left the band several years ago], and Ian [Haug] being here. It’s an adjustment, but good.”