Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall, May 3, 2006

 

Written and photos by: Jason Perlman

 

Playing the $5 CD-101 Lo-Dough Show at the Newport Music Hall, Augustana played in front of a crowd of about 600 that were, if anything, somewhat familiar with Augustana. Whenever a Lo-Dough show is presented, there is always a decent crowd because more often than not, those bands are moving on to bigger and better things (just as when The Killers worked hard to open for five other bands just a few years ago).

 

The first time Augustana played Columbus, it was an opening slot for the British band Embrace at The Basement, and the sound the band put forth was not only soft and polished, but it contained a sense of rawness and emotional interweaving that this young band, both in age and time together, were well beyond their years.

 

This time around, the band was headlining and that was not the only difference from that show, but now Augustana has a touring keyboard player. Part of what helped make the band so great at The Basement was singer's Dan Layus' ability to change instruments, and with those changes came a different vibe with each song. When Layus played the opening keyboard chords to Boston last year, he was able to emotionally get into the song while sitting behind the keyboard, where now headlining and playing guitar, there seems to be something missing from the song's delicate sound.

 

Armed with not only the new keyboard player, but a scruffier look as well, Augustana played an hour of songs that were very much in line with the band Train. Heart-filled lyrics mixed with a straightforward and effortless sound are what make the sound of Augustana so well received and easy to listen to. But at the same time, this is not easy-listening music, as Layus adds complicated messages to his lyrics while still making them simple enough to grasp and relate with.

 

Even with the loss of some feeling of Layus, the rest of the show was solid and entertaining. With the success of the Lo-Dough shows, many bands are getting to play in front of fans that would normally not come to their shows, so it makes for an interesting mixture of hardcore fans and new listeners. But that mixture can make for some strange ambience as a headliner, who normally plays in front their fans, have very much an opening act experience even as a headliner.

 

Although Augustana is a very capable and up-and-coming band, this show with the new lineup and mixed crowd, was lacking what was brought when it first played The Basement as an opener. Hopefully, as the band gets used to the new lineup of musicians, it will gel better and that band that felt every note they played like a mother feels for her child. But the future of Augustana is only looking bright as not only is the band garnering more radio play, but with how quickly the band has risen can only cause one to assume the band can write an even better second effort.

Augustana will continue to tour throughout the summer supporting All The Stars and Boulevards, and should be a show that is worth admission.

Dan Layus
Dan Layus
Jared Palomar
Dan Layus
Dan Layus
Dan Layus