Friday, July 7, 2017

Something Shimmering and White

I have to appreciate a willing partner-in-music.

While I don't get a sense that Australian psych-rock from the '90s is your thing, if you'd like to join me tonight, the Church are playing at the Broadberry.

Well, you know, I was saying just the other day that I hadn't seen a good '90s Australian psych-rock show in ages.

Also, a sense of humor.

When we'd walked to Texas Beach in the morning, it had been muggy and cloudy (also great justification for lounging against a rock near rushing water in the river so we could walk back with wet shorts), but by evening the sky was blue, the humidity had dropped and we wanted to eat outside.

Suiting our needs to a T, the patio at Lalo's Cocina beckoned, even as the hostess looked uncertain about our request to dine al fresco. After checking with a superior for the okay, we were led back outside where we had a terrific view of the quickly shifting cloudscape.

Our dimpled, pierced server was delightful, sharing that she was new and we were her first ever patio table. We promised to be gentle.

She was only slightly flummoxed when, after we'd asked for a bottle of Vina Galana Verdejo, she returned with a bottle of Avinyo Petillant, explaining sheepishly that they were out of Verdejo. We cheered her up considerably when we embraced the easy-drinking prickly wine.

Hell, I'd have ordered it in the first place if it had been listed on the menu.

As we sat there sipping in the evening breeze, we noshed through guacamole (although not prepared tableside, like it used to be), shrimp and avocado salad and well-seasoned quesadillas of beef and chicken as the older crowd we knew to be headed to the same show began arriving.

Seems lots of people hadn't been to a good '80s Australian psych-rock show in ages, either.

When you're talking about a band that's been around for 37 years, you're also talking about a band of middle-aged men. There are myriad upsides to that: the show, slated to begin at 8, began on time. The volume was ideal, such that no earplugs were required, a major switch from the 3 young buck bands we'd seen just the other night. And the whole shebang was over by 10:00.

It's like the Church had read their aging fan base's concert wish list and complied with them all.

But for those of us who didn't care when the show began or ended, or what the volume was, the real treat was watching these guys who've played together so long execute their music flawlessly. There were three guitarists (including a 12-string - be still my heart - two of whom were introduced as "lead guitar") and no two were ever playing the same thing at the same time.

There was a fair amount of glammy vocal delivery, keyboards augmented all that guitar sound and while the band occasionally took off in showy directions, they never failed to rein it in and bring the song back around to its original structure. They were pros.

And, unlike the youngster bands we'd heard the other night, these guys hadn't studied rock star posturing, they'd been doing it since Reagan was president.

Practically between every song, the guitarists changed guitars, but never in a way that interrupted the flow of the set. Between song banter was comfortable, not cumbersome.

"Imagine it's summer 1990 and you turn on the radio and it's the perfect song," said lead singer Steve. "This is the song after that one." Or, another time, "This is the third song."

I think we've already established that I appreciate a man with a fine sense of humor. Meanwhile, the crowd ate it up.

Even though I knew to expect it, it was still unpleasant when the band began "Under the Milky Way" and every other person in the crowd raised their phone to shoot video of it rather than just listening and enjoying.

Not us. I reveled in hearing the band's shimmering guitar sound live while my companion appreciated their musical chops, showmanship and songcraft. I got to hear a band I'd liked for decades and he walked out impressed by his first '90s Australian psych-rock band.

Imagine it's summer 2017 and you walk out of a stellar show, there's a nearly full moon in the sky and you still have the rest of the evening ahead of you under the Milky Way tonight.

It's almost like I'd been led here despite my destination. My, but that worked out well.


  1. one almost wants the story to continue...and never give up....


  2. ...and sometimes you just wanna let go & see where it takes you...


  3. On that path right now, far, so good!