To say The Church is coming to Salt Lake City for the first time may be confusing for some people. But for fans of The Church, their prayers have been answered.

The Church, one of several Australian bands to gain recent popularity in the United States, will take the stage Tuesday, Aug. 16, at the Triad Amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. Peter Murphy will join The Church in a double headliner.Special guest Tom Verlaine, formerly of the group Television, will open the show.

The Church is best known for the recent single, "Under the Milky Way" - a Top 20 song that received extensive airplay at local radio stations. The band has been popular on alternative and college radio stations, but "Starfish," the group's latest album, has proven more accessible to a wider audience and the band's popularity has climbed.

" `Under the Milky Way' is one of my favorite singles of the year, but `Reptile' seemed to be the one (single) that made the album go," said Biff Raffe, music director at KJQ, the station presenting the show.

The Church began in 1980 as a three-piece band consisting of Nick Ward (drums), Peter Koppes (guitar) and Steve Kilbey (bass, vocals). "Unguarded Moment" became an Australian Top 10 song in 1981 as Ward decided to leave the band. He was replaced by 18-year-old Richard Ploog, who joined the band after reading an ad in the paper.

The group's recent success has seemed to spawn a new interest in some older material, Raffe said. A new album, "Life Before Starfish," has been sent to radio and retailers highlighting the band's earlier material.

Undoubtedly, many fans will attend Tuesday's concert just to see former Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy.

Bauhaus, which split up in 1983, had a large worldwide following. College and alternative radio stations fostered a loyal cult audience that still follows Murphy in his solo career and also follows Love and Rockets, a band made up of three former Bauhaus members.

KJQ and former KCGL listeners will remember "Bela Lugosi's Dead" - a song that typifies the old band's haunting, eclectic sound. Fans everywhere mourned the loss of the band, but Murphy felt that Bauhaus and its style had run its course.

Murphy's first solo single, "Final Solution," and first solo album, "Should the World Fail to Fall Apart," were praised by critics and fans. Fans turned out en masse to see Murphy on his first U.S. solo tour and witnessed the phenomenon of his thin, cat-like body dramatically weaving in and out of the unique lighting.

Visual presentation is important to Murphy. "Every song has a definite mood," he said. "The lighting should put it across rather than be a separate entity."

His new album, "Love Hysteria," is creating more fans for Murphy. The songs "All Night Long" and "Indigo Eyes" are two examples of the extraordinary talent Murphy displays. His style is similar to those of such successes as Peter Gabriel and David Bowie.

Raffe said The Church has just peaked in popularity at KJQ and Murphy is just starting to gain.

"It's good timing for both bands to be here," he said. "I'm sure it will be a great show."

Tickets are $13 in advance and available at all Smith'sTix locations, Cosmic Aeroplane, Graywhale C.D., Smokey's Records, Spanky's Records and all Soundoff locations.