Augie March

w/ Gareth Liddiard and Dan Luscombe of The Drones

It's not my fault I missed Gareth Liddiard and Dan Luscombe of The Drones warming up for Augie March. I was warm at home avoiding the achingly cold evening air. It took three layers, a scarf, beanie and leather gloves to get me out of the house, but there was no way I was going to miss Augie March's farewell to Sydney; their last show here for an indefinite time. I arrived at the Metro, shedding my layers as Gareth and Dan finished their set.The venue was packed and the pair had the crowd in raptures, making me feel a little more sheepish about missing them.


Augie March's tour was billed as a retrospective of their thirteen- year musical career. Though the band has advised that this break is just a "well-earned breather", the occasion felt significant and I found myself reminiscing. In the early days, Augie March's live shows were frustratingly erratic, punctuated by lead singer Glenn Richards' perfectionism and inclination to yell at sound technicians.


Either sound techs have significantly improved in the past few years or Augie have become more lackadaisical and have learnt to deal with the slight imperfections. Speaking of imperfection, Asleep in Perfection was one song that Augie March disappointingly did not pull out of the vault tonight. They did make up for this by putting on a stunning show, beautifully flitting from old to new, and occasionally forgetting a few lyrics.


The Augies started the evening with one of their many gorgeous ballads, The Hole in Your Roof from their first album Sunset Studies. Followed by a little self proclaimed indulgence, they moved through Maroondah Reservoir and Just Passing Through before inviting a three piece brass section to join them on stage.


Pennywhistle, the first single from their most recent album Watch Me Disappear, included piano accordion and cowbell accompaniment and rollicked and bopped along as wonderfully as the recorded version does. Brundisium was a highlight, so too was Moth Ball, the pared back simplicity of which highlighted exactly how big Augie March's sound has become.


The Triple J Hottest 100-topping One Crowded Hour was also in there, but didn't stand out as much as it probably should have. There Is No Such Place not only demonstrated how remarkably unique Glenn's vocals are, but the transfixing lyricism and musical aptitude that The Augies are so well known for. Glenn took a break to thank the Sydney audience for being their strongest fan base. He recalled their first Sydney show at the Annandale in support of Crow.


Drummer Dave Williams, not shy of the microphone, quickly jumped in to correct Glenn, reminding him that their first Sydney show was in fact supporting Something for Kate.Dave claimed to call Something for Kate's lead singer, Paul Dempsey, the "Sad Giant… but not to his face". Glenn, knowing more than a few Paul Dempsey fans would be in the crowd, was quick to ensure no offence claiming Paul was in fact one of the funniest people one could meet.


The joking continued, with Glenn claiming amazement that no one in the crowd had called for them to play Future Seal yet. This was promptly met with many calls to "play Future Seal" and "play Stop Breathing". But those fans expecting to hear something from the band's ambitious first EP, Thanks for the Memes, went home begging.


The songs chosen for encore closed the show aptly, fully recognising their troubadouring style. For not the first time that evening, Glenn forgot the lyrics, this time during an acoustic rendition of Bottle Baby. He laughed along with the crowd, joking that it was not a gimmick and that we were witnessing his brain dying. Owen's Lament was another standout before the final closer, Clockwork.


So, while Augie March go forth in their separate creative directions, this punter went back into the cold Sydney night a little whistful, but curious to see what will emerge from their hiatus. Like many, I'm also eager to hear how these new experiences will shape Augie March's beautifully unique sound into the future.

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