Having seen Augustines twelve times over the past few years, expectations for their show at Reading’s Sub89 were high as usual. The band released their third album, This Is Your Life, on June 10th and the Reading show marked the first of three UK headline shows.
The gig was almost cancelled when multi-instrumentalist Eric Sanderson had to be treated for pneumonia in Germany where Augustines had just played a few festival stints. However, Augustines aren’t a band that would throw in the towel so easily. Instead, singer Billy McCarthy, already adept in doing solo shows, along with drummer Rob Allen delivered a stellar stripped down performance.
McCarthy, on electric guitar, launched into the set with Landmine from the new record followed by recent single Are We Alive. He was then joined by Allen for New Drink For The Old Drunk saying that this wasn’t a concert but rather an occasion for all of us to drink and have fun. And so we did!
Video: Augustines – Are We Alive
In between songs, McCarthy, who was in a splendid mood, would make time to joke about Sanderson looking like ET when he turned all grey or throw in a few blues improvs (“Tuesday is blues day“).
Despite their new record released two weeks ago, the set was mostly comprised of songs from their previous two records including Cruel City, Weary Eyes, Kid You’re On Your Own, Book of James, and Juarez among others. Covers of Against Me!’s Two Coffins and Waltzing Matilda were the icing on the cake.
Out of the new ones, they picked the obvious standout tracks – the aforementioned Landmine and Are We Alive as well as the title track and Running in Place. The latter was delivered in a beautiful a cappella version by McCarthy.
Despite being a man down, Augustines proved once again that they’re at their best playing live. The new material sounded a lot more sincere with these stripped down versions for which the intimate setting provided the perfect backdrop. Come October, Augustines will step up their game, if that’s even possible, when they will headline the Brixton Academy in London.