Sunday, June 22, 2008

Augustana, House of Blues, 6.12.08

As soon as Troy's book reading ended, I headed back south to downtown San Diego to catch Augustana at the House of Blues. I scored a pair of tickets from fellow blogger, Chickrawker, and got in touch with Jared (bassist of Augustana) to work out a photopass. He also left me a pair of tickets, but fortunately they didn't go to waste. As I was getting my stuff, a girl at the ticket window discovered she'd mistakenly bought tickets for the show in Anaheim, not San Diego, so I handed her the tickets.

If the show wasn't sold out, it was pretty close to it. It was packed. It was one of the shows where the floor was all ages and the balcony was 21+, but HoB has started opening the Delta Room as a bar. I missed both openers, but was there in plenty of time to catch all of Augustana.

I feel like the band's new album is a slightly more aggressive than the last, but the show would turn out to be chock full of ballads and some amazing acoustic renditions of their songs. Unfortunately for me, they opted to have the stage dimly lit, with about 6 white overhead lights pointing directly down on the band, with Jared and Chris almost completely in the dark for most of the set, and forget about Justin and John altogether. Even though it was a photo challenge, I maximized the first three songs of the set just to have a viewing spot, since the floor was packed.

During the first or second song, the band lost their timing and Dan stopped the song. It was pretty hilarious to find out that the drummer's bell-bottoms caught on his bass drum pedal. They had to try restarting a couple times, but eventually got right back into it. The next song had some issues, too, which made Dan joke about how professional they are, but the crowd loved it, finding their chatter endearing. And, yes, the girls were gaga, yelling "I love you" to their chosen band-member as they tuned to get the show going again.

During a couple songs, I just couldn't find a place to watch the show (it was that crowded), so I went to the Delta Room for a beer and to listen to the music that was broadcast on the sound system while playing on the flat screens around the room. I went back out when they played those couple songs acoustic. They played Fire with just solo keys, then Meet You There Someday with two acoustic guitars and mandolin, and Reasons with the whole band pitching in vocal harmonies with a solo guitar.

The show was great, but again, as soon as it ended, I bolted and made my way to the Casbah. Huge thanks to Augustana for hooking it up. Hopefully we'll see the boys around town before they hit the road with Counting Crows later this summer.

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