Watching the dry ice drift to the top of the high ceilings of Manchester Cathedral, illuminated by the bright white lights, you couldn’t help feeling a mystical sense had taken the building. This wasn’t a late night vidule though, the normal churchgoers have been replaced by a 6 music crowd. The amps are stacked up by the altar and the trestle tables are by the font selling beer and merchandise.
The building has been taken over for a night by Augustines, though the strict 10pm curfew prevents the evening for going ful rock and roll. The band perfectly suit the atmosphere that such a magnificent building provides, with the arena rock sound they produce beautifully capitalising on the acoustics of the room. A must for fans of Springsteen and U2, Augustines have made a name for themselves by taking these big sounds to intimate venues. Those days may be numbered now though with the band selling out their current tour of the UK.
This success will surely translate into a run of festivals next year and watching the band engage the crowd for singalongs you know they’ll be right at home. In fact the only criticism I could really level at the band would be their enthusiasm. Sometime the breakdowns and the commands to chant became a little bit much and the Monday night crowds responded with nothing more than a quiet singalong drowned out by chatting. The mid gig trumpet solo dragged a little long but the energy that the band provided to the crowd was more than enough to forgive them. Stopping the gig for the tradition of an encore left the band with an opportunity to unplug and perform without the aid of mics. In the Cathedral setting the silence of the crowd coupled with the strong voice of lead singer Billy McCarthy left everyone blown away. A great way to finish for a band that are surely not far from the arenas to suit their arena rock.