REVIEW: The Church, Lizotte's, Tuesday December 5

THERE’S numerous ‘80s Australian bands still flogging their wares on the music scene. Some, you could argue, like Midnight Oil and Cold Chisel, remain capable of conjuring up the same fire they produced in their prime.

Yet they’re still trading on past glories. What separates The Church from their contemporaries is they continue to evolve.

Their latest album Man Woman Life Death Infinity sits comfortably next to their greatest records. The Church’s second of two sold-out shows at Lizotte’s on Tuesday night also proved the psych rockers are progressing as a live unit. 

The introduction of ex-Powderfinger guitarist Ian Haug in 2013 has been a masterstroke. Haug was brilliant on the opener, Aura. He was free to express himself on the fret board more flamboyantly than the more muscular Powderfinger ever allowed. 

The three-way intersection of jangling guitars between Haug, Peter Koppes and guest member Jeffrey Cain was memorising throughout.

Cain had his own chance to shine on the soaring solo to end Starfish classic North, South, East and West.

Another reason for The Church’s renaissance is Steve Kilbey’s transformation into a more engaging frontman.

As the two-hour 19-song set progressed Kilbey became more and more expressive, sensing the energy rise from the audience.

Kilbey was excessive on new track Undersea as he waltzed across the stage, flaying his arms around in awkward jerking movements.

It was the only misstep of the evening as the band struggled to replicate the off-beat rhythm of the track. Other new songs Another Century and I Don't Know How I Don't Know Why impressed.

Older fans were kept happy by Under The Milky Way and Reptile, but easily the biggest reaction was saved for the trebly guitar riff of The Unguarded Moment. The song even had women dancing in the aisle of the usually-reserved upstairs stalls.

The Church’s confidence in their new material was illustrated by ending the second encore with Dark Waltz and Miami.

Nobody protested. They remain faithful to The Church’s enduring legacy.