After an eleventh-hour venue change, a factually incorrect band promo write-up, a 40⁰ Spring day, disintegrating gaffa tape and sound challenges, the odds were stacked against Augie March and The Audreys. But similar to when One Crowded Hour topped the Hottest 100, they came from behind with a stellar win to everyone’s delight.
Formed in 2004, The Audreys kicked off the night. The pending AMC SA Music Hall of Famers were in good spirits as they treated us to a nine-song blues and roots set. Opening with Banjo and Violin, founding mainstay and vocalist Taasha Coates sizzled. While Tom Kneebone (guitar/ banjo), Flik Freeman (bass) and Beej Barker (drums) were tight with their compositions.
Coates freely admitted that she tended to write songs when she’s either “horny or sad”. The song selection confirmed that. From Lay Me Down, You and Steve McQueen, Anchor with its spectacular bass solo, the haunting INXS cover Don’t Change to Oh Honey and everything in between, it was a sultry and scintillating performance. The only letdown was the distracting Adelaide Unibar sign that incessantly flashed behind the band throughout the show. Thankfully, someone came to their senses and turned it off when Augie March took to the stage.
After a slow burner start with Here Comes the Night and its initial sound issues (some of us did notice, Glenn), the iconic Australian band swiftly found its groove. Despite Glenn Richards (vocals/ guitar) expressing his confusion regarding the type of gig it was to be, it quickly became apparent that Augie March was, is, and always will be outstanding.
Much has been written over the decades about Richards’s songwriting and the band’s musical sensibilities. The poetical proclivities of their lyrics are enchanting. Seeing and hearing Augie March live was almost otherworldly.
Richards was talkative throughout as he tuned the only guitar he brought, an eBay purchase no less, between songs. Guitarist Adam Donovan grappled with fifteen-year-old gaffa that chose this gig to no longer hold his guitar strap together. Drummer David Williams, dressed according to Richards like a “drunk Kentucky lawyer,” was effervescently smiling upstage unperturbed. Keyboardist Kiernan Box and bassist Edmondo Ammendola remained stoic amid the shenanigans. But when the five played, it was captivating.
The stacked set list included The Third Drink, The Cold Acre, Little Wonder, Maroodah Reservoir, One Crowded Hour, Tulip, The Offer, The Slant, Sunstroke House, Owen’s Lament, The Glenorchy Bunyip, This Train Will Be Taking No Passengers, and There is No Such Place.
There were many moments of awe during the ninety-minute show. Moments where the music swaddled you as your imagination drifted into another plane during Maroodah Reservoir and The Slant. Moments where you gasped and realised One Crowded Hour was beginning. Moments where you yearned to throw away the chairs you were sitting on to dance to The Glenorchy Bunyip.
Moments you were appreciative of the “gentle person’s agreement” that the band would carry on in lieu of a formal encore and This Train Will Be Taking No Passengers played.
When all was said and done, Augie March offered an exceptional performance that showcased their spectacular talent and discography. A discography set to grow in 2024 with album number eight. Here’s hoping it won’t be another four years before we see them live again.
Live Review By Anita Kertes