concert memoirs pt. 37 – los straitjackets & the church

Los Straitjackets “Rock & Roll Party” w/Big Sandy & Pontani Sisters

10/26/01 First Avenue w/Amy & Mark Ticket Price: Unknown

We were late for this show. I don’t remember why, I’m guessing that we thought Los Straitjackets would be going on later.

The “Rock & Roll Party” was the teaming up of Los Straitjackets, normally an instrumental band, with vocalist Big Sandy. Big Sandy was a pretty big fellow with the right kind of voice for the band. He sure seemed to be having a good time, but Amy and I stayed back from the stage. That made it more difficult to get into the swing of things.

Other than that, I don’t have much to relate about this show.

The Church w/Love-Cars
4/17/02 First Avenue w/Amy & John Ticket Price: Comp. Tickets

The Church is still one of my all-time favorite bands, but they haven’t done much for me after the 80’s. It seems that decade is where they left all their best material. From their earliest material released in 1981 (you can find it on the ‘Of Skins and Hearts’ CD) to their last album of the 80’s, ‘Starfish’, you will find some great and often brilliant songs. For me, their stand out album is their second release, ‘The Blurred Crusade’. It is fantastic from beginning to end.

Then came the 90’s and ‘Gold Afternoon Fix’. I just couldn’t warm up to that album. I liked the song ‘Metropolis’ and one or two others, but ‘You’re Still Beautiful’ was such a lousy song and ‘Russian Autumn Heart’ wasn’t much better.

I gave them other chance with their follow-up album, ‘Priest = Aura’. I was disappointed again. I think the audience they had found with ‘Starfish’ left them as well. Their subsequent albums became harder to come by even though they were still producing them. They may have some great songs in the 13 or so albums they’ve released since I left them, but I don’t know. I have heard a song called ‘Louisiana’ which I thought was fairly good.

So, all that leads me to the last time I would see The Church in concert. It was very much the same story as the last time John and I had seen them (First Avenue, 9/30/98). Very mid-tempo, very ethereal, very mystical, but lacking any kind of energy. Nothing like the first three times we’d seen them.

It is true that I didn’t know much of their material and that most certainly affected my enjoyment of the show. But, the same was true when I saw the band for the first time and I thoroughly enjoyed them then. The first time I had seen them it was new and exciting and entertaining. The last time was tired and boring.

Oh well, we had complimentary tickets for the show and John met us there. We enjoyed hanging out with him.

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