concert memoirs pt. 21 – the godfathers, robyn hitchcock & the egyptians & the church

The Godfathers w/The Nils

3/28/88 First Avenue w/John Ticket Price: $6.00

“This damn nation! Frustration!”

An excellent song that I first heard during a Club Degenerate night at First Avenue. Great guitar. Nice and angry.

They put on a good show. They were very tight and very rockin’. Their lead singer was full of the tough guy attitude. He pulled it off, though I would say that it came close to seeming a bit put on.

They did an excellent cover of The Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen.

What do I remember of the opening band The Nils? Nil.

Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians
4/11/88 First Avenue w/John Ticket Price: Unknown

Robyn sang, Robyn blinked, Robyn told amusing anecdotes. Robyn was great.

The Church w/54-40
6/21/88 First Avenue w/John Ticket Price: $12.00

The night before this show, The Church played at the Guthrie Theater. I couldn’t afford to go to both shows, but John could. John always had more money than me. Always. I mean, twelve bucks to see them at First Avenue was a bit on the spendy side. I was working at Wendy’s and John was working for the county, so he was making way more money than I was.

The show at the Guthrie was used to film the video for their song Reptile. They started filming early. The idea was they would film early with an audience then head off and 54-40 would play. After that, The Church would come back out and play their set.

As it turned out, the filming took so long that 54-40 had to be bumped. So, John didn’t get to see one of the best bands that Canada ever produced. He would have to wait until the next night.

When you watch the video for Reptile on the YouTube, you now know that it was filmed at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. The old theater, they recently built a new one in downtown Minneapolis.

John and I headed out to First Avenue the next night to see both bands. Again, at First Avenue we could get a closer look at the bands then was possible at the Guthrie. 54-40 came out and entertained us with their leftist, socialist, antigun, pro-Sandinista songs. Politics aside, they were really good.

The Church took the stage in promotion of their latest album, Starfish. Incidentally, it’s my opinion that that was their last decent effort. Something happened to them after that. They seemed to lose their touch. They would have a good song here and there, but no good cohesive album effort.

So, anyway…

I always enjoyed watched Marty Wilson-Piper play. He had the most rock star attitude of the band. While watching him, I saw how he achieved that cool effect on their song Destination, the opening track on Starfish. He would turn the volume down on his guitar, strum a chord and then turn the volume up. He did this three or so times very quickly at the proper point of the song.

The Church was also the first band I’d ever seen that used a certain device on their guitar to achieve a particular sound. Instead of strumming, Marty and Peter would hold some sort of something to the strings while fingering the frets. My guess is that the device must have vibrated the strings. The Church did such neat things back then.

This was the last really good show John and I would see of them.

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