We Are Augustines are Billy McCarthy, Eric Sanderson and Rob Allen. The band formed from the ashes of Billy and Eric’s former band Pela, who were well known for their raucous live shows. From the first song it is clear that none of their passion and energy was lost in the turbulent times that foresaw the release of new album ‘Rise Ye Sunken Ships’. They kick the show off with the song that shares the album name but is not included on their debut release. Their set is taken mainly from their album with songs such as ‘Strange Days’ being given an extra kick of aggression and distortion when played live. The set never lets up, each song being delivered with full conviction. Billy’s voice is gravelly and whisky soaked as he flawlessly portrays the honest subject matter of the songs as the band gives their all to a packed out and rather sweaty Night and Day. The sound is full and as epic as the songs are on the album, Eric switches between bass, guitar and keyboard often as well as using samples and backing track elements from the album to create a sound much bigger than the average three piece would do. Englishman Rob was clearly enjoying every moment whilst delivering a perfectly tight performance on his first ever drum kit that he uses when back on home turf.
The set seems brief but does more than enough to satisfy the crowd. After leaving the stage for a short moment Billy and Eric return to perform a piano rendition of ‘Philadelphia (The City of Brotherly Love)’ that had the room in awe as Billy sang every line like it would be his last. Rob then returned to the stage as they finished off the set with ‘Book of James’ sang with the help of their new fans who will undoubtedly have been won over by this live show if they haven’t listened to the album yet.
For the band to get to this point following their painful yet inspiring backstory which included a band break-up, a complex and tragic family bereavement, an album recorded twice, serious debt and dices with alcoholism is a truly moving story. Their smiles on stage echo the fact that these songs have saved them from getting lost in the shuffle of life. Billy at one point says to the crowd “this is a celebration” and that is most definitely what it is as every song is applauded with upmost excitement.
In a recent interview We Are Augustines explained their worry towards naming an album “Rise Ye Sunken Ships” given the fact that it may sink, but with live shows like this and brilliant heartfelt songs there is absolutely no reason why this band would fail to rise and rise. It was so refreshing to see a band appreciate every person in the room and take the time to come offstage to continue to share this great evening with their fans and friends.
The album ‘Rise Ye Sunken Ships’ is released today (5th March) in the UK and Europe.