Yes, ‘We Are Augustines‘ are on the menu tonight. Having missed them at their Album launch back in March (due to Snow Patrol stalking) I’m really looking forward to seeing them again. One of those new bands that grab you and you want more and more! Well, I want more, a lot more.
Neil and I make our familiar way to Oxford ‘We are Augustines’ are headlining for the BBC Introducing, 4 Oxfordshire bands playing first: Deer Chicago, Highway Alaska, ArtClassSink and Yellow Fever.
We arrived early, at 6:30 pm, doors are supposed to open at 7 but they made us wait till 7:20 :-(. We were 5th in the queue, but when it came to scanning our tickets (from SEE tickets) there seemed to be a problem scanning them. The security guard pulled us to one side to sort it out, he was just about to gesture to the other people waiting to go on……I looked at him and said:”what was the point of getting here early to queue?” I’m very pleased to say that The Security guard completely understood my frustration, stopped the people from going in until our tickets were sorted. Thank you, that was fair. We got in and to the centre front, awesome. But the smoke machine obviously worked overtime again, and with the very dim lightning you can hardly see your hand in front of your face.
We didn’t have long to wait for the first band to appear, ArtClassSink , hmmmm, what can I say? They are very loud, VERY loud :-(. It has been a while since I have seen this gig, but the one thing that stuck in my mind was the bass player, Neil said he was more like a Jazz bassist, and I thought he was definitely the leading instrument and I’m sorry to say but I feel he is wasted in this line up. The band reminded me of Spiritulaized, tunes samey and voice weak. Sorry guys, you didn’t to it for me at all. 😦
Next band on is Yellow Fever, it looks as though they brought their own little following, good for them. They seem a very friendly bunch and genuinely happy to be here, the Jimi Hendrix look alike lead singer Dele announces that this is their first BIG gig. He was confident enough with just a touch of insecurity; I loved the way he animated his songs, giving his all. Somebody shouted out “love the hair”, he smiled and said: “thanks Mum”…which caused a ripple of laughter in the audience. Looking down the barrier at a few faces watching them admiringly, I spotted a mini – Dele, his little brother I wonder? I must say, the guys are doing well, it’s just the sound, again too loud, was much better with earplugs…! I also managed to get my hands on the set list, which is what I like to do!!
Highway Alaska are taking the stage, the sound is still far too loud which is a shame, because you just can’t hear the lyrics being sung. Energetic lively rock is being played and I do get good vibes from the stage. Again a band to maybe catch a couple of times before making up one’s mind. I must say I really don’t like the crowd tonight, there does not seem to be the usual “gig-etiquette” just rudeness and far too much talking while the bands are playing. Why do people push to the front and then decide to chat most of the time….I will never understand that! Is it as annoying to the bands as it is to me and most of my friends I wonder? Yes for the set list, my collection is growing!
Fourth band up are Deer Chicago, another Oxfordshire based band, they have been together since 2009 and played at various festivals and venues. Now these guys are brilliant, I love the way make the stage their own and deliver their music, plenty of confidence and arrogance, but not to the extent that they appear full of themselves, I believe it is the second time they have been asked to be part of BBC Introducing, and quite rightly too. I did enjoy their gig very much and may just have to catch them when they are playing at the Buffalo Bar in London on the 25th Sept., even if it is iTunes Festival month!! Oh, and these guys didn’t have a set list 😦
Now the band we have been waiting for “We Are Augustines“, well, right from the start, the Brooklyn based boys give 100%, lively and energetic, starting their set with “Rise” followed by “”Ballad”. I knew there was a good reason why I fell in love with them, you can feel how much they love playing their music to the adoring fans, there is banter in between songs, but not too much to be annoying. A few funny lines and snippets of stories before launching into another winning track from their Album “Rise Ye Sunken Ships“, which is by the way awesome. One of my favourites I acquired lately. Billy mentions their nightmare journey to Oxford, when they got stopped by the police to be told smoke is bellowing out of their van. Indeed, it was on fire……luckily nobody got hurt and no equipment got damaged. Once they got picked up on the road side they continued their drive to Oxford. Good for you guys!!!
Billy also told us how exciting it was for them to play here in Oxford, as a youngster back in the States you hear about the great Oxford Universities and the history laden town. And by god can you feel that pure joy coming from the stage, even the alcohol fuelled lager louts can’t spoil the moment now. :-). Finishing with “Chapel Song” it leaves us wanting more….and there is more (of course), a couple of tracks for the encore and far too soon it is all over, I know I say that at the end of most concerts, but it’s true, how come an hour and a half can be gone so quickly?
I manage to get hold of a set list, YES, and we don’t have to wait long at all for the boys to come out and mingle. But as always, too many people want a piece of them, we have a chat, a sweaty hug, a promise of catching up very, very soon and leave them to it. I also managed to get the set list signed, happy now!
Thank you Billy, Eric and Rob….loved every minute of it!!