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Last Night's Show: The Church with Adam Franklin & Bolts of Melody at the Gothic

The Church w/Adam Franklin & Bolts of Melody Thursday, June 18th, 2009 The Gothic Theatre, Englewood Better Than: A show you'd normally expect from a band 29 years into its career.

Adam Franklin's bass player had to perform sitting down due to a broken foot, which may have had something to do with tripping over Bruce Lee's grave -- or so Franklin joked early in the set. Understated humor aside, Franklin and the band performed a set of dreamy songs that crackled ever so slightly with an inner tension released with each song, as though the song's completion was a sigh of realization. The sound of guitar chords hanging like uncoiling springs made the middle section of "Autumn Leaf" sound chilling yet gorgeous. The set ended with a ten-minute tour-de-force of "Ramonesland,"which ended with a deeply resonant, thick, low end drone on Franklin's guitar that continued until after he waved goodbye for the night and left the stage.

Adam Franklin Set List 1. Champs 2. Winter Girls 3. Autumn Leaf 4. Morning Rain 5. Seize the Day 6. Bolts of Melody 7. Mary Gunn 8. Big Sur 9. Theme From LSD 10. Ramonesland

Before any member of the Church took stage, an impressionistic, ethereal guitar loop played over and over until Steve Kilby and the others took up their spots and Peter Koppes and Marty Wilson-Piper played the clipped guitar intro to "Tantalized." I don't know how he could do it after all he's been through, but Kilby sang as beautifully as ever, and he and his bandmates performed the lengthy set with an ever increasing level of energy and confidence.

Before playing the luminously lush "Day 5," Steve told us a story about how he had met Joe Walsh, and when he asked Joe how the Eagles were doing, Joe said saying, "I hate them fuckers when I'm not drinking." And for the rest of the night, between songs, Steve amused us with jokes and anecdotes, few of which seemed rehearsed. Kilby struck poses with his legs apart, low to the floor. Marty in particular performed not just superbly but with a playfulness that you could see in his expressions. Highlights of the show included a particularly sweeping and moving versions of a personal favorite of mine, "A Month of Sundays," as well as an extended version of "You Took" that had the band jamming on the song for over ten minutes -- none of them was boring or self-indulgent. The show would have closed with a stretched out and fiery take on "Reptile," but we were treated to two encores, with Kilby telling us he was too old to lie and that we were a wonderful audience.

The Church gave its all for this show -- like not nearly enough bands seem to.

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The Church Set List 1. Tantalized 2. Block 3. Day 5 4. North, South, East and West 5. Happenstance 6. After Everything 7. Almost With You (by David Bowie) 8. A Month of Sundays 9. Deadman's Hand 10. Pangaea 11. You Took 12. Operetta 13. Under the Milky Way 14. Reptile

Encore 1 1. An Interlude 2. Space Saviour

Encore 2 1. Hotel Womb

Bias: The Church has written music that is part of the soundtrack of my life. Random Detail: Marty actually did end up playing a Rickenbacker bass at the show. By the Way: Untitled #23 is one of the best rock albums of recent years.

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