Augustana | 1.26.07

augustana2Lead singer Dan Layus’ vocals seemed to be right on the money as the band filled the intimate hall with an overabundance of energy.





with Vega 4
Blueberry Hill,
St. Louis
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Having missed Augustana’s two previous stops in St. Louis, I was determined not to miss again the band whose CD I put at the top of my “Best of 2005” list. Their debut, All The Stars And Boulevards, had been a permanent fixture in my CD player for the past few months.

Impressed with the number of 20-somethings crowded into Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room, I had to reconcile myself to the fact that Augustana might be on the verge of breaking big…although the fact that the band was formed just one state over (Illinois) might have had something to do with it, as well.

While the first of the co-headliners, the Damnwells, did a superb job with their set, I became anxious to finally see if Augustana could create as many good vibes live in concert as they did on their CD. Without much ado, the band kicked off their set with one of their best rockers, “Feel Fine.” Lead singer Dan Layus’ vocals seemed to be right on the money as the band filled the intimate hall with an overabundance of energy. While the band clicked off one fantastic song after another, I finally realized why I fell in love with them in the first place: They could be the most unpretentious band in the rock universe. Their music isn’t particularly flashy, nor do they try to come off as something they aren’t. Each of the band members seems as genuine as the music they perform.

Their set was crammed with every song from their album as well as a new¾to me, at least¾acoustic song, “Marie.” Layus’ voice did crack and escalate into Mickey Mouse–like vocals as the night progressed. This can easily be forgiven in light of the demanding tour schedule the band adheres to; as mentioned earlier, this was the third time the band has passed through town.

The band ended their set with their hit single, “Boston.” This song is by far the best on the album and helped cap off a truly amazing set. After the crowed cheered the band back for an encore, the four reappeared onstage, flabbergasted. “We don’t have any more songs to play for you,” Layus announced. However, to appease the audience, they performed a song they had been playing around with during sound check. The song didn’t have a title, but what it did have was catchy guitar riffs, intoxicating vocals, and the groovy vibe that Augustana fans have become accustomed to expect. The entire show, including the Damnwells’ performance, will make it hard for me not to put this show in my “Best of 2006” list.

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