Augustines @ Stylus, 23/10/16

It’s always sad to hear that a band is breaking up, especially when you are lucky enough to witness a concert that encapsulates their talent whilst showcasing the mutual love and appreciation between themselves and their fans. Unfortunately, this is the case for Augustines, as they played Leeds University Stylus as part of their farewell tour.

It’s not often you go to an indie rock concert and see strangers in the crowd hugging and consoling each other, and throughout the Augustines set you could hear the numerous shouts of “don’t split up!” and “we love you!”. In response, the band jokingly said such things as “we can’t hold back the love affair” (referring to guitarist Billy McCarthy and multi-instrumentalist Eric Sanderson) “that’s really why we’re splitting up”, also to start “a new career in martial arts”. However, you could see that the band were very moved, especially when Billy started to sing “goodbye UK it’s been so good” before stopping and saying “kind of a downer eh?”. Yet, one of the most poignant parts of the gig was when Billy came on stage alone, and sang, without any instruments, ‘Running in Place’. This not only evoked tears from the audience, but from Billy himself.

Throughout the two hour set the band played a range of songs from their 6 year career including favourites such as ‘Chapel Song’ and ‘Are we alive?’, but each and every song had the crowd singing and clapping along.  And despite being an incredibly emotional and passionate gig, there were many moments of banter with the crowd, funny anecdotes (including one about stealing breakfast) and some very interesting dancing from Billy McCarthy.

Augustines are one of those bands who are incredibly appreciative and grateful towards their fans. At one point Billy directly questioned the security guard as to why there was a barrier up between the band and the crowd, this was all before he actually joined the audience whilst singing ‘East Los Angeles’, making sure to hold as many hands as he could. The crowd definitely savoured each and every moment, right up until the point they continued singing those final “oohs” of ‘Cruel City’ whilst Billy flew paper airplanes of the setlist into the audience. This was the final emotional moment that cemented the experience as being bitter sweet; to witness an utterly amazing band, who gave everything they had for one last tour.

Phoebe Berman

Image: [The Telegraph]

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