Augie March @ Mojos Bar Fremantle
w/ Davey Craddock album launch
Friday, May 17, 2018
When unleashing new albums, it made sense for Davey Craddock and Augie March to combine their launch. Both are known for being strong storytellers and would share an aesthetic that would appeal to all in attendance. You can be pretty sure what you can expect from local lad Craddock, but it is those Shepparton boys Augie March that are always the wildcard on any billing.
Davey Craddock knows about the history of roots music and he manages to bring all the right elements into his engaging tales without resorting to any of the cliches. His debut may have been lazily called ‘country’ but his new album One Punch makes that narrow description obsolete. With a band of musicians that could easily be Perth’s finest, he has a tight and taught vehicle for his rich, likeable voice.
Pete Stone plays melodic runs on the most well worn bass seen on a stage in some time as well as sporting a handlebar moustache and, while the sound is fleshed out and spaces filled on keys by Mo Wilson (who ironically has no moustache). Craddock tells the art of expectation management even before you get through the door with Target Country and delivers the only soul song set in Bunbury on the always irrepressible There Will Be Light.
Giving racism a kick up the arse on the riff laden Not In My Backyard (You Said), Craddock balances melody and message with ease. Luke Dux contorts notes and gives the tune a healthy dose of grit. You would expect nothing less from the guitar maestro.
It’s not all weighty tunes that strike home with the ABC radio crowd though as Craddock proved he has many string to his bow on the delightful slice of jangle pop that is Holiday. It is a lack of ego that allowed Craddock to open for Augie March, but his performance on this night was well worth the headline slot on most billings.
Augie March came out for their second successive night at Mojos with a air of confidence. The band have always been enigmatic thanks to aloof frontman Glenn Richards, but they were firing early with The Hole In Your Roof, and Richards sharing tales about his $7 shirt from Karratha that was refusing to breathe under the stage lights. Songs from the new platter Bootikins were given out early with The Heaviest Stone weaving upbeat guitars with some sweet “ooh baby baby” backing vocals, while The Third Drink is the kind of tunes The Drones would construct if they drunk cups of tea instead the evil old brew.
Richards was keen to play a large chunk of the new record, but the band won the battle to play tunes from throughout the bands history. The Cold Acre was instantly familiar and given some well-timed muscle to great applause. Having been impeccable up to this point, Richards forgot the lines to I Hurtle Back To The Conservative Locker, but with a brief apology to the band and barely skipping a beat, Augie March made a fine fist of what is the best song off Bootikins.
One Crowded Hour is the type of song that is still paying the bills for the band and it was played with all the clarity and energy that the band can muster. When they are on song, Augie March are a rare treat. Richards declared Tomis one of his favourite songs he has written and alluded to it being his attempt at post rock. While it is hardly Explosions In The Sky, there is a jaunty quality to the guitars that are sure to earworm you for some time. Definitive History was a surprise inclusion and highlighted just how exquisite the band can be by making a six minute song appear to be way too short.
The fine spirited Richards joked that they wouldn’t be leaving the stage but would play an ‘encore’ of 4 more songs. The band ended with There Is No Such Place that outlined both the Jekyll and Hyde of Augie March. The song should be considered an unofficial national anthem, and yet Richards managed to forget the words, and chastise drummer David Williams by declaring “you’re not doing the backing vocals … we’re not one of THOSE bands mate!” On this evening though, Augie March provided way more highs than they did lows.
Photos by Linda Dunjey