Augie on march again

Matthew Hogan
Augie March singer/guitarist Glenn Richards

CONCERT

Augie March

Astor Theatre

Saturday, March 28

3.5 stars

The last time Perth audiences saw Augie March in action was December 2009.

Supporting Paul Kelly, the Melbourne band was in sour spirits and subsequently did not play live again for almost five years.

What a difference time apart makes. After leader Glenn Richards split from Melbourne for the lush surrounds of Tasmania, they returned late last year with one of their finest records yet in Havens Dumb, which made up much of the set at a half-full Astor on Saturday night.

Greeted with small cheers from a crowd perhaps apprehensive they would not return to the heights reached a decade ago, Augie March opened with the breezy doo-wop of Hobart Obit.

Richards continued to stare intently into the nothingness for A Dog Starved and After the Crack Up, which again showed the high points of Havens Dumb thanks to a three-piece horn section which joined them for much of the performance.

The crowd fired up as they first dug into their considerable back catalogue with Moo, You Bloody Choir’s highlight The Cold Acre causing a punter to declare his love for the song. “You can have it,” Richards replied. “It makes me about 50 cents a year in APRA cheques. Just wash my windows once a week and it’s yours.”

With other early gems such as The Good Gardener (On How He Fell) from 2000 debut Sunset Studies and The Devil in Me from the ill-fated 2008 album Watch Me Disappear finding spots on the set list, alongside the obvious inclusion of former Hottest 100 champion One Crowded Hour, any doubts Augie March had lost their lustre were quickly quashed.

But with a man falling asleep during the finale of Never Been Sad, one wonders if they should veer from their trickle-speed tempo for variation’s sake.


CONCERT

Augie March

Astor Theatre

Saturday, March 28

REVIEWMATTHEW HOGAN