I fear I may slowly have killed it

March 19th, 2007

Where have you been, my heat, my shadow?
How well did you like the song?
I filled it so full of nonsense and unrule
You feel like there’s something forgotten or fell
You feel like there’s something forgotten or fell

Pale with horror, I saw you when your bird flew
Now who in the whole low world has been kind to you
Save for a kindly, ugly few?
Don’t read it, don’t watch it, don’t do what they do

I had a very good night last night, but it had little to do with the Augie March gig. All the way home from the Metro I was wondering what on earth I’d write about that gig last night. I was really disappointed, but mainly with two things – the set list and the crowd. The set list, which I’ll post only because I actually made a note of it, went thus –

Just Passing Through
Cold Acre
Thin Captain Crackers
Mother Greer
Stranger Strange
Sunstroke House
Baron of Sentiment
Men Who Follow Spring the World ‘Round
Bolte and Dinstan Talk Youth
Hole in Your Roof
Drowning Dream
One Crowded Hour

Encore:
Bottle Baby
Honey Month
Train
Vernoona – I’m really not sure about this one. I had it as the Good Gardener on How He Fell, but walking to the bus stop last night and humming it to myself I think I convinced myself it was Vernoona.

16 songs. 11 from MYBC (and one of the 3 songs from the album they missed was Clockwork, easily one of the best off the album). The highlights for me (apart from Bottle Baby) were definitely the older songs. I think, perhaps, I’ve been spoilt with crowds this year. Bar the gigs at The Basement (and really, that’s a whole other thing) all the crowds at all the shows this year have been great. Last night not so much.

I wonder if, considering the crowd they were playing to last night, and the recent success they’ve had with their latest album, the band feels artistically compromised. I wonder how much of the MYBC-heavy set list was due to them wanting to play their newer material, and now much it’s them understanding their audience and knowing that to hold their attention they needed to hit them up with the songs that got radio play.

It’s going to slay me to say this, because it’s clear as day how much I love the song, but who knew One Crowded Hour would create such a monster.

I have seen this band live 3 times now. This is easily the roughest, musically, I’ve seen them. The crappy sound quality, particularly for the first few songs, didn’t really help this. Glenn also seemed to have a bit of a scratchy throat. I have such good (albeit vodka-addled) memories of the first gig I saw at @Newtown, and the show at the Enmore was actually amazing. I came away last night feeling disappointed.

Blah! Next time they come through town I will still see them, being the CFG that I am, and I hope like hell the MYBC bandwagon has died down some and we can start with the listening. Because Augie March are sure as hell worth really listening to.


2 Responses to “I fear I may slowly have killed it”

  1. Marmalade on March 20, 2007 10:56 pm

    I’ve seen Augie more than any other band…five or six? times, because I’m bookish and geeky about music and if you’re both of those things, well, you’re an Augie fan.

    Of those, two were triumphs that left me skipping like a Dorothy (at the Forum with a three piece brass band and at the NSC for a JJJ Live @ the Wireless), one or two were solid and entertaining, and two…

    Well, two might have been unmitigated disasters in lesser hands. Glenn Richards can be like a new puppy on your favourite rug i.e. when he accidentally pees on a spot, he can’t help but go back over that spot later and keep peeing there.

    One gig, I think it was their second after a ten month layoff, Glenn took perfectionism to dizzying heights, stopping songs halfway through, getting so worked up about how shit Augie was (they weren’t) that he was missing cords and forgetting lines and working himself up further.

    The second was at the Prince, a very similar if not identical set list, and this poor sound guy just could. Not. Stop. Fucking. Up. Of course Glenn made him very comfortable by glaring, hissing threats in-between lines, sending poor old Keirnan over to try and fix things before Glenn himself had a dab. No dice. The mix was dreadful, but really, Glenn should have realised he was playing to a different crowd who just wanted to hear ‘One Crowded Hour’, drink some beers and get up for work in the morning.

    But, shucks, I still love him for it.

  2. Karen on March 21, 2007 8:15 pm

    Aha, I get so dorkily excited whenever I find out someone else is an Augie March fan. And yeah, you’re right – seemingly people who are nuts about the band dig the literary references and such. He’s such an amazing lyricist and almost not from this time.

    Your analogy about Glenn is spot on. I kinda love that about him – he takes what he does so seriously and it must be TOUGH to be him with all that crazy OCD perfectionism. This is another reason why I felt gutted about the crowd reaction – they just don’t get that here is a guy pouring his heart and soul into what he’s doing, and it clearly crucifies him if it’s not delivered or received in the right way. When they started laughing during Bottle Baby there was a split second where I thought he might lose it, but then he ruefully laughed and just kept playing.

    He was really upset with his guitar that night – I’m not sure if it was the sound (which was crap) or the guitar itself, but he kept swearing at it. Also, he remarked more than once how crap a song had been that they just played. I mean, it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t a train wreck. He also said they were recording the show Sunday night, which was in his eyes a recipe for disaster.

    Honestly, that crowd would probably have been just as happy watching a cover band doing versions of The Gambler or Sweet Home Alabama.

    I have so much love for Glenn and Augie March. I’m psyched to see him support Wilco in April, but I hope to god the crowd shuts the hell up.

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