29 November, 2014

Gig Review… Augustines @ Substage, Karlsruhe, Germany, 6th November 2014

Sunday Evening Service With Augustines

Geman is a rhotic language. So is English (well, in most parts of the anglophone world that is). The production of the 'r' in KaRlsruhe, however, caused some difficulty for Augustines' singer and mastermind Billy McCarthy. Was that a result of the whisky drinking rituals on stage or a more general linguistic problem? Have a think about it.

Hang on, whisky drinking rituals on stage? Yep, but McCarthy, Sanderson and Allen of the band Augustines didn't even think of trading some with the audience at Substage in Karlsruhe. While folks didn't really expect it, the bargaining with cigarettes was no real compensation. McCarthy must have smoked at least three different German brands during the concert.  Some might say: "Good on him, intercultural competence and stuff." Anyway, it really did NOT compensate for McCarthy being stingy with the whisky.

Now, all this does not necessarily bring to mind images of a holy gathering; more those of a Johnny Cash tribute evening in Greenpeace's headquarters. Not even the fact that the band played a half-hour acoustic set in the middle of a singing crowd which was - by this time - performing pagan dancing to the sound of guitar and cajon, makes you throw you hands to the sky in feverish prayer. However, the Augustines' show still had all the qualities of a Sunday evening service: a crowd that came together to worship one of today's most interesting bands, while watching a guy drink and handle smoke in front of them (luckily it wasn't incense!). The heavy but warm sound was quite reminiscient of an organ in full blast. Their performance was cool but sweat-inducing enough to get even the most highbrowed bystanders dancing or at least moving their heads by the end of the show. Not that they had to be converted, as the others had gone ballistic long before that. After their two hour set the Augustines, who were still not able to pronounce "Karlsruhe", went off stage and left behind an impressed audience in a half-lit room and I went home with a pure conscience.

by Dominik Fehrenbach