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Augie March

with Dan Kelly and the Alpha Males


Before the Augie March show at Ruby's Lounge on Thursday the 11th of May, I had never heard any of their music. "Moo You Bloody Choir' their third album is apparently getting a lot of airplay but as I don't listen to the radio I hadn't heard it. When a band reaches a certain level of popularity it is impossible to escape at least the mention of their name and I kept hearing it – always with the assumption that a) I had heard them. b) I liked them. So I was curious. Why would people assume that I would like them?

  

I arrived at Ruby's Lounge in Belgrave with enough time to catch the last few songs of Dan Kelly and the Alpha Males. I hate to say it but I find them a tad boring. However the almost capacity crowd was lovin' it. Although freezing outside the packed bodies made the room hot and there was an air of anticipation. Once Augie March started, there was little room and much group swaying.

  

The first song, ‘The Cold Acre' was met with huge applause. An obvious crowd favourite and with the amount of folk singing along an apparent radio favourite too. I just stood and listened – and I was impressed. The songs range from good-time feel-good numbers with honkey tonk piano to huge swelling ballads that manage to escape predictable structures but still feel anthemic. All the songs sounded familiar but somehow they felt new – like interesting observations on old ideas. Glenn Richards' amazing voice filled the room. Although high, it is powerful and filled with a sense of restrained emotion. The bass player Edmondo Ammendol had a captivating stage presence without really doing anything and I must admit that the drummer, David Williams's obvious enthusiasm and enjoyment was incredibly infectious.

  

The single ‘One Crowded Hour' invited such crowd frenzy it was really difficult not to be moved. The song starts quietly and builds and builds to an emotional crescendo. The band visibly enjoyed playing the song, which added to its appeal. This scruffy suited group of bearded men quietly and very competently entertained with good music and silly stage banter. If the crowd at Ruby's is any indication: this band is best enjoyed by couples. So, something there for both the Ladies and the Gents and even a skeptical, radio hit suspicious cynic like myself. Sometimes bands are popular because they are actually good – Augie March is one of those.

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