Earlier this year, after five years hiatus, Augie March announced they had quietly been working on their fifth album Havens Dumb much to the delight of their fans. Melbourne in particular responded positively to this news, selling out five shows this week at Howler.
In 2009, Australian indie rock favourites Augie March announced their permanent hiatus after releasing four successful albums and after their most successful song “One Crowded Hour” ranked #54 on the Triple J’s Hottest 100 of all time list. While their first two albums Sunset Studies andStrange Bird struggled to make a splash, Moo, you Bloody Choir and Watch Me Disappear saw the band raise to fame in Australia and the United States. They became a household name in the Australian indie rock scene and were severely missed while they went on hiatus.
Thinking they were done and dusted as a band, it was a delight to hear they were returning with a fifth album Havens Dumb which was released last month. It was no surprise that a tour was announced shortly after and the lads are currently touring the country reintroducing themselves back into the Australian music scene. There was no question of this in Melbourne as they sold out five shows at Howler this week, making it clear that they have not been forgotten and they are very much loved in their hometown.
Augie March played a massive two hour set during their second show in Melbourne on Thursday night which consisted of an array of songs from across their extensive catalogue. Their new songs of their new album fitted seamlessly amongst their older songs demonstrating the band have kept their core sound despite time between albums. I waited anxiously for the moment that Glenn Richards started playing “One Crowded Hour” which crescendoed into a long momentous bliss, however it struggled to reach the same power as on their record. And this was the same with all songs across the set. After five years, you would expect a band to sound a little rusty during the first half of their comeback tour and that was the reality of it.
Plagued with tech issues throughout, the set diverged them from their original setlist, until eventually the issue came down to a simple ‘mute button’ glitch. Even after this was fixed, the band continued to chop and change their setlist, much to the pain of their guest horn section who found themselves walking on and off stage in a state of confusion. The band lacked energy on stage and the crowd struggled to keep focus which wasn’t helped by the intense heat and lack of air in the room. Experiencing the show was like riding the rickety Scenic Railway rollercoaster at Luna Park. There were peaks that were exciting and reminded why I once loved this band, then there were troughs where I was waiting anxiously for the next song, hoping it would be a good one.