Pillar of The Church keeps the faith

Review: Steve Kilbey, supported by The Dalmations
Belconnen Arts Centre Theatre
, 20 February 2021

The new Belconnen Arts Centre theatre established its credentials as a live music venue on 20 February when it hosted a COVID-capacity concert by British-born and now expatriate Canberran Steve Kilbey, best known as lead singer of The Church, of which he is now the only original member.

Many in the audience weren’t born when Kilbey was at high school in Canberra in the early 1970s, but there were enough to identify with his anecdotes about cultural landmarks of the day such as the O’Donnell Youth Centre and Tuffins Music. Kilbey is a skilled and humorous storyteller, and his stories and impersonations of characters in the music industry were a highlight of the evening.

In a performance which ran for more than two hours, Kilbey sang his way through many of the songs from The Church’s two earliest albums, Of Skins and Heart (1981) and The Blurred Crusade (1982).

The rationale for this choice of music wasn’t entirely clear. Kilbey made no bones about the fact that he disliked some of the songs, so it was curious that he decided to perform some of them regardless.

Towards the end of the set, the audience became a little restive, waiting for Kilbey to perform Under the Milky Way, The Church’s greatest hit. That came in the encore, when he was joined on stage by his support act, Canberra duo The Dalmatians. The three blended well, and (to quote Kilbey), The Dalmatians well and truly deserved their spot on the program.

Congratulations to Belconnen Arts Centre and to local promoter Jen Seyderhelm (JenX Music) for helping to bring back live music to Canberra.

Picture: Artwork from Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy’s new album, Jupiter 13.