Augustines, Koko, gig review
Augustines have stayed intimate, and true to themselves
Nick Hasted has been a film journalist since 1986. He writes about film, music, books and comics for The Independent, Sight & Sound, Uncut and Little White Lies. He has published two books: The Dark Story of Eminem (2002), and You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks (2011), both from Omnibus Press.
Tuesday 15 April 2014
Augustines have spent three years projecting stadium-sized passion in pub back-rooms.
The 1400 packed into this Camden music hall could represent a dilution of that intimately epic experience. Singer-songwriter Billy McCarthy, though, whose mother’s fatal overdose, brother’s suicide and own early struggles were his band’s initial fuel, still has the size of spirit to make every gig extraordinary.
From the start, Augustines’ trombone-bolstered sound surges forward against the lyrics’ negative tide. When McCarthy sings, “I’ve got a drunk for a mother and a saint for a brother” during “Juarez”, he marches back and forth to the mic as if on a mission. For “Philadelphia (City of Brotherly Love)”, he has to gather himself for each step of that walk, head bowed and tears flowing as he sings “bro-therly love!” and his pain is roared back, transmuted, by the crowd.
McCarthy soon pops up, wholly unplugged, serenading us from a balcony. For the final stretch, Augustines unplug again, and sing from the heart of the crowd. The burly McCarthy has bigger, bolder emotions than rock has been used to lately. As crowds grow to match this, Augustines have stayed intimate, and true to themselves.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food