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The Augustines rocked Ace of Spades Saturday night in a fantastic opening performance for Frightened Rabbit. The crowd pushed up to the front to see them play songs from their 2011 album Rise Ye Sunken Ships, transitioning smoothly from head-bangingly energetic songs to deeply emotional pieces. The band was completely tuned into each other, slowing or quickening in sync to capture the audience further.

Though they weren’t the headliners, they might as well have been; the Augustines dominated the stage with their strong personas and unique musical style. Billy McCarthy, the Augustines’ lead singer, enticed screaming cheers from the crowd when he revealed that he’d lived in Sacramento for several years in his early twenties, and drew on our little city for inspiration in many of his songs.

Rise Ye Sunken Ships was produced independently after the disbanding of their original band Pela.  It was an album of rebirth and hope, rising from hard times and personal tragedy, including the suicide of McCarthy’s brother.  When the album was introduced, it gave even the jovial David Letterman pause.

“You know, ladies and gentlemen, what they’re trying to tell us is life is an ocean and we are all ships,” Letterman said after the Augustines played on The Letterman Show.  “If your ship has sunk don’t despair, don’t lose hope.  Rise, ye sunken ships.”

The band will be releasing another album, titled Augustines in 2014.  It will also be produced independently, allowing the Augustines the freedom to create the distinctive sound they’re known for.  If their recent concert is any indication, their next album promises to uphold the exceptional level of musicianship that they’ve presented.

Words Tessa Murphy

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