He Said, She Said: A Two-City Concert Review of Augustines
Touring in support of their sophomore self-titled LP, we knew the night wouldn’t disappoint before Augustines even took the stage at the Bowery Ballroom on Monday. The same was true before their gig in Boston yesterday. Boogie writers Holly and Elie pick apart the finer elements of both.
Elie: Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey, NYC
Holly: Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave, Allston, MA . It’s basically Boston.
Elie: One over-priced Stella, $8 + tip. And some secondhand ganga smoke.
Holly: One can of Guinness, $5.50 + tip.
Elie: McCarthy poured his heart (and raspy vocal chords) into each track, adding in a touch of Joe Cocker-esque swagger. The crowd ate it up, creating some “good vibrations.” Interaction was priceless, constantly slapping high fives, smiling, letting some random dude take a sip of his whiskey, and even jumping into the pit during the encore to perform a quick acoustic set (“The Trouble with River Cities,” “New Drink with the Old Drunk”). No dull moments here.
Holly: About two hundred or so turned out for the show; Augustines ramped up the crowd with their emotionally charged music. Their infectious passion noticeably latched onto each gig goer. Fans engaged in a lot of back and forth with the band; one girl asked to wear vocalist Billy McCarthy’s hat (he obliged), there was the standard Boston banter from the band, met with not-so-snarky replies. And let’s not forget the (short-lived) sharing a bottle of Jameson with the crowd.
Elie: Seattle-based duo My Goodness. They pulled off the unthinkable by setting the bar rather high. The abbreviated set was a feverish blitz of grunge just loaded with big bottom. It was enough of an aural assault to rev the sold-out crowd, most of whom were still drinking downstairs.
Holly: Seattle’s My Goodness was a solid forty-five minutes of grunge gone right. The drummer was a bit overzealous, but the lead singer was tenacious and leveled this out. They remind me of Foo Fighters mashed around with Red Hot Chili Peppers and some Journey-inspired bass lines.
Elie: Their two records are great, and Holly is always talking about how awesome these guys are live, so the hype was high.
Holly: As it should be. Having seen them open for Frightened Rabbit, I knew what I was getting into. My expectations were to hear a bunch of their new stuff, but really I went into it expecting the unexpected; being the headliner, there was nothing but possibilities with these guys. And they did not disappoint.
Favorite Part of the Set
Elie: Lead singer Billy McCarthy’s finicky fly kept falling throughout the set. But, no matter. The spirit in this former Lower East Side shoe shop was too uplifting for such hilarity to become a buzzkill.
Holly: The set was great – a good mix of old and new tracks to keep the crowd into it. Augustines kicked it up when, what was presumably going to be “the end” of the show, McCarthy asked, “What do you think – should we do that pretend leaving and coming back out bullshit?” This, of course, was met with a resounding “NO!” The band then went on to do a few more songs, including an unplugged version of “East Los Angeles,” and closed out the show with “Book of James.” Or so we thought. McCarthy then grabbed his acoustic six-string and hopped off stage, making his way over to the bar. No one was prepared for this, and the bar was quickly cleared off, as his bandmates followed suit – drummer Rob Allen with a box in hand. McCarthy yelled, “This is how these sessions work – everybody shakes it down and sings along – grab a beautiful woman!” and belted out an acoustic version of “Strange Days.” But that wasn’t all. They jumped off the bar and asked, “Is this weird? We want to play among you, but we want you to be able to see – how about everybody sits down?” The crowd, now well aware that they were part of something special, obliged. It was well past the performance time, and the emptying bottle of Jameson was now being passed around through the crowd (the bartender quickly put the kibosh on this). They covered Pela’s “The Trouble With River Cities” (McCarthy and Sanderson’s former band), and ended with “Don’t You Look Back,” and a “Thank you for coming to Camp Augustine!” Epic.
Elie: No gripes, really, other than the price of drinking at Bowery Ballroom these days. Jeez.
Holly: There was a bit of (Jameson-induced?) jabbering between some of the songs, about the weather, yada yada yada – it wasn’t entirely necessary. All was forgiven, though, when McCarthy, arguing Boston’s volatile qualities, declared, “but, c’mon – THE PIXIES WERE FROM BOSTON – FUCK!” Preach it. Also, Brighton Music Hall is running a racket, charging four quarters to play Ms. Pac Man.
Best Song Performed
Elie: I personally enjoyed seeing “Juarez” live. But as an honorable mention, McCarthy’s rant about living in NYC was pretty funny.
Holly: “Book of James,” is my favorite; you can lose yourself in it live. All of their acoustic stuff was great.
Something You Saw That The Rest Of The Crowd Didn’t Notice
Elie: One of the lady photographers up front kept kneeling down to sip sacrament from a bag full of shooters.
Holly: Before Augustines took the stage, one of them was limbering up through the translucent curtain in their green room.
Would You See Them Again?