I was really hoping that seeing him live would change my opinion, but alas, my opinion is nothing different from that of the album review. Although for a Tuesday night, The Paradise had quite a showing of people. The local radio station WERS 88.9FM (Emerson College), had put together a lineup of Sara Lov and Port O’ Brien with Sea Wolf to headline. Although I was there reviewing Sea Wolf, the only act that left me walking away with any sense of satisfaction would be Port O'Brien. They performed the way I had wished Alex Brown Church could have — lively and communicative with the audience, energetic and downright hardcore in their efforts, I was sincerely pleased.
The band accompanying Church had their act together, which I believe is the only thing that upheld his performance. His energy was lacking, even on the ‘brighter’ songs, such as “O’Maria” (which may have been loudest of them all). You still don’t get to see all he has to offer. I know his rockability is in there, somewhere… his shyness and boyish charm just seem to have a great way of covering it up. Another close favorite off of White Water, White Blooms would be his performance of “Orion & Dog.” The lyrics make this one genuine if only because for once it feels like he finally has something to say, and in effort actually makes you believe it.
All things considered, Church is fairly new to the scene, a sophomore at best. It would be proper of me to state that he still has some kinks to work out. Hopefully time will help him in finding himself and his own personal musical style. But if anything is to change, the vocals need to be kicked it up a notch. The auto-pilot alternative hush is clearly not working in his favor.