Monday, 15 May 2006

Augie March gig [13th May 2006 @ Hi Fi Bar]

[Photo courtesy of MarkP]

I'd like to make something clear from the outset -- I don't like the Hi Fi Bar. It's cramped, smoky, poorly ventilated and not very comfortable. It's probably one of my least favourite venues in Melbourne (the Forum would get the nod as my favourite).

As much as I would love this to turn into a bitch session about my enjoyment of gigs steadily degrading over the years (getting old and having to be back in time for Matlock), I'm not going to turn this into a "woe is me" posting. Let's stick to the content of this blog, which is the music.

This was probably the 8th or 9th time I have seen these legends live, and it probably won't be the last. My gig memory isn't so great, but I think it was about 4 years ago that I saw them last -- not long after they released previous album Strange bird.

This time around they were supported by Dan Kelly and the Alpha Males, which made the gig even more attractive to me. I have Dan Kelly's album The tabloid blues and find it quite enjoyable, even if it's not one of my absolute favourites. $23 to see 2 bands I like -- it doesn't get much better value than that kiddies.

Dan Kelly's set was an enjoyable one, covering several songs from The tabloid blues, current single Drunk on election night and a few songs I hadn't heard before. The highlight of the set was All on my lonesome where one of the band members played a theremin -- a truly stunning instrument. If you've never heard one of these live, you are missing out.

Now, on to the headliners. For those of you who haven't heard anything by Augie March, dig yourself out from under that rock where you are hidden and go out and buy one of their albums now. For the uninitiated I'd recommend their debut Sunset studies. That's where I started; while their newie Moo your bloody choir is their most accessible to date, I still don't think it's the best starting point. Work your way through their catalogue and follow their progression. It won't take long before you put them right up at the top of your "absolute favourite bands" list. And this isn't just hyperbole, it's the goddamn truth.

Their gig covered a good cross-section of their last two albums, though surprisingly they only included one song from their debut album, Here comes the night (no, they didn't even play Asleep in perfection!). Nothing from their two debut EPs either. Interestingly enough, all the Strange bird cuts came in a giant clump near the end of the gig; in no particular order: the Pogues-esque stomper This train will be taking no passengers, the haunting The night is a blackbird, rocker Song in the key of chance, the folky Sunstroke house (which really worked in the live setting) and epic Brundisium.

My personal gig highlight was Glenn's solo performance of Bottle baby, a truly stunning ballad from their last album. This song really pushes Glenn's fantastic vocals to centre stage, and his live interpretation definitely did it justice. Elsewhere, Glenn dedicated The baron of sentiment to his dog (who had been shot and apparently injured by an arsehole the previous night) and current single One crowded hour opened one of their several encores showing that the 'March clearly aren't gig top-loaders.

All in all, Augie March have never let me down and this gig was no exception. These guys deserve much more commercial success, but it's their lack of popularity which also makes them what they are. As soon as they start getting over-played on the radio, it will kill them. But at the same time they deserve to have lots of money thrown their way because they are so goddamn good. Isn't it ironic?

UPDATE: Here's some samples of their work if you are unfamiliar with the genius of Augie March. I have included a ballad, a more catchy pop song, and a rockier one just so you get a feel for their sound.

Augie March - Bottle Baby [Link Removed]
Augie March - The Offer [Link Removed]
Augie March - This Train Will Be Taking No Passengers [Link Removed]

Enjoy, and please let me know what you think!

UPDATE: Song links removed.


  1. Could you post some of the earlier Augie March stuff up? I have noticed that Triple M have started playing a lot of their stuff lately and I was wondering (cynically) if this had much to do with Fifi Box announcing the week before that her brother is one of the band members. d:)

  2. "Isn't it ironic?" - Are you turning into an Alanis Morrisette fan-boy now? :)

    The theremin would have been cool to see being played. Guess I just have to wait for them to tour Germany, huh? Either that, or cross my fingers really hard that they are playing somewhere around X-mas time.

  3. Dunno where else to post this question for you, other than sending it direct via A-mail, so here goes:

    Q: Do you know much about Die Toten Hosen?

    Ppl seem to go nutty for them here.


  4. Anonymous - I have edited this post and put a sample of 3 Augie March songs up. Enjoy!

    'Brush - Glad someone picked out the Alanis reference. I gotta admit that Jagged Little Pill was a great album before it got crucified by overplay. And she's still trying to cash in on the success of that album! As for Die Toten Hosen, never heard of them. Who are they?

  5. Die Toten Hosen are a German punk band. I will try and send a track to you via A-mail later on.


Sing some harmonies here: