REVIEW: WE ARE AUGUSTINES AT BRISTOL THEKLA (01/10/12)
Sunday gigs can be totally hit and miss. After a whole weekend on the razz, attendance can be low and spirits even lower but this gig, this is how you do a Sunday gig. The Bristol crowd was big (numbers not size of individuals) and buzzing and We Are Augustines fed off this throughout their set to create a real Thekla love-in.
First up, though, is Kodaline. The Irish rockers sound almost identical in places to their somewhat forgotten (over here at least) peers Bellx1. Their unapologetic, soaring indie ballads could be mind-blowing but instead they’re not going to change the world – unless they make their way onto X Factor. That said, with sniffs of Snow Patrol and Puressence, they offer a good solid opening act and one which we’ll no doubt hear on the airwaves again.
We Are Augustines saunter on with a big grins – grins which do not let up at all throughout the set. After missing their last Bristol gig, which only took place a couple of months back, we (along with many others in here) were determined not to miss this one. Likened to Bruce Springsteen, which Boss fan could resist checking out this Brooklyn trio? Hell, you ain’t ever going to see Springsteen himself on a boat in Bristol so why not give these a whirl?
Lead singer Billy McCarthy could’ve been separated at birth from The Felice Brothers’ James Felice in terms of soul and slightly husky, massive vocals – the kind which send shivers down your spine. From the moment they burst into opener ‘Philadelphia (The City of Brotherly Love)’, they’ve got the audience in the palm of their hands. The love and sheer energy rushing through this boat is infectious and it’s not long before almost everyone is punching the air and singing along. In a curious turn of events it is on this song they end their encore too. A controversial but somewhat sensible conclusion. We’ve gone full circle here and we’re with them throughout. And they know it.
The rest of the set builds and builds and just when you think it’s getting a tad samey, they drop in a beautiful and tender ballad in the shape of ‘Barrel of Leaves’ . Elsewhere in the set, ‘The Book of James’, like many songs with religious imagery proves a forceful number with the same uplifting brilliance of Arcade Fire’s ‘Intervention’. The song which gave the band its name, ‘Augustine’, is a particular highlight, with McCarthy spitting: “New York City can go to hell!” Cue more arm waving and roars of ‘yeah’ from the crowd.
Here, we have an almost impeccable live band and while their album is well worth a listen – to get the full force of this exciting new troupe you really must go see them play live. And thanks to this reaction in Bristol, something tells me they’ll be back soon.
Words: Laura Williams
by 247 Magazine