We Are Augustines @ O2 Academy Liverpool (Live)

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O2 Academy Liverpool 09/05/12

9th May 2012 and American rockers We Are Augustines have found themselves Liverpool bound on the UK leg of their tour in support of their album Rise Ye Sunken Ships. Having already played to sold out crowds in Manchester, London and Birmingham they were well in their stride, and well prepared for the nights antics. Opening up for the guys were the rock band with a tinge of metal, My Goodness.  Having journeyed from their hometown of Seattle to the UK for the first time they’re only just picking up on the different crowds and what to expect; as were we. Joel and Ethan work as a two-piece with just a guitar and drums; so perhaps people were expecting more ballads, soft indie pieces? Oh no, “safety in numbers” isn’t always the case, especially with My Goodness. There are many a five piece rock band that would struggle to create the energy that My Goodness conjure, not to mention sharing the limelight equally. Musically they blew up the stage with power chords, drumbeats like no other and definitely a sense of “banter” between them. Whilst they rarely made eye contact they were bouncing off one another’s energy, almost like a playful battle. Joel would pipe up with a strong guitar riff with Ethan hitting straight back throwing his entire body into those drum beats; an intense atmosphere but hugely entertaining. With bluesy Kasabian-esque vocals “In The Sun”, certainly caught the attention of crowd members; and even more so with their single “C’mon Doll”. It went down a treat with head nodding and leg popping from people around the venue, sipping their drink in appreciation. My Goodness kept crowd interaction to a minimum perhaps through nerves but more likely because they were so engrossed in the music, powering through their triumphant set.

The space filled up fast with people bagging themselves a front row spot in eager anticipation of We Are Augustines. Looking around at the crowd there was a true mix of people from all ages and styles, from 18 year olds in trench coats to 40 year old men with a passion for football chanting. Billy, Eric, and Rob wasted no time, going straight in with the full force of “Philadelphia (The City of Brotherly Love)” with a hearty welcome from McCarthy who had climbed over the barrier just four minutes into the show; the crowd singing back to them within seconds.  “Juarez” saw Eric play keys like a puppet on a string, his arms feeling every beat. Despite not being an album track “Ballad Of A Patient Man” was not unknown to the audience, showing the dedication of the Augustines loyal fan-base. Billy McCarthy and Eric Sanderson who have been playing together since the early 2000’s moved around the stage with such passion with seemingly uncontrollable smiles across their faces. Having been lucky enough to interview We Are Augustines, one thing is plain to see; despite having a turbulent time over the past few years they have never let their spirit be trodden down. If anything it’s spurred them on, which is why their shows seem nothing less of a celebration. A celebration of life. Nobody could deny that the atmosphere was so positive, filled with goodness. Billy told the audience that the band had played some pretty big shows recently, but in his words “this is where we want to be.” “Augustine” and “Patton State Hospital” are both tracks with an emotional back story which everyone in the audience was aware of. This made the “sing-a-long” more meaningful than ever. There is without a doubt a special connection between the fans and this band and this was just another nod of their everlasting support for them. Their debut UK single “Book of James” had a similar effect with the anthemic lyrics echoing around the room; “And here lies my green eyes/ Rolled back in my head, but they’re alive/ And all these words can all get spoken/ just know we tried and you’re forgiven”.

After a “thank you and goodnight” from Billy the stage was left empty for a few minutes only for the chants of their second UK single “The Chapel” could be heard loud and clear. But before their wish was granted a lone Billy McCarthy returned to sing the mellowest track of the evening, “East Los Angeles”.  To carry the night out on a high it was the moment everyone had been awaiting, that wonderfully simple drum beat kicked in from no other than Mr Rob Allen, an unsung hero whose energy kept the euphoric atmosphere alive.  The infectious strums of a guitar resonated throughout the venue and “Chapel Song” was here. Billy warmly invited everyone to stay for drinks adding “aren’t you supposed to get kicked out of these places?”

For fans of Bruce Springsteen and The Gaslight Anthem this should be right your street, as the same- if not more-passion and emotion applies to We Are Augustines. In saying that even if you’re not a fan of those, still go if you have the opportunity to do so, they’re too good a band to miss! The electric atmosphere and the heart and soul attitudes of the band is just how gigs are supposed to be. (Apart from splitting your jeans in the opening tracks, Billy!) Wholesome rock music at its finest, things can only get better from here forward for We Are Augustines.

Hannah Murphy

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