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Re-Viewed: Vega4 and Augustana at the Metro

By Julene McCoy in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 26, 2007 6:30PM

2007_01_vega4.jpgWe were a little skeptical last night as we headed over to the Metro to see Vega4 and Augustana for an early show since both these bands have garnered their attention from having songs on television shows. Visions of The Fray were all we had to go on — tender songs that are good, but for the most part are innocuous background music. The stuff on our iPod that we don’t fast forward, but we don’t repeat either.

Vega4 took the stage in jackets and jeans looking very respectable and then proceeded to do that adult emo-thing so very well. “You and Me” and “Life is Beautiful” (the song heard on Grey’s Anatomy) provided the moments of the evening that summed it up for us — a band that has been toiling away waiting for that one song to hit so their work can be heard by even more people. Lead singer Johnny McDaid sings with the voice of Ian Curtis at times — if he had been a happy guy — and took the time to be in the now and do all those rock star things that would seem ridiculous in a smaller venue. Johnny ended the night among his fans in the crowd capping off a set where the band truly made the audience feel like a part of the show.

2007_01_augustana.jpgAugustana headlined this two-band show bringing out quite a few new songs to complement those off All the Stars and Boulevards; we were pleasantly surprised with the Americana sound that they incorporated, as well as the keyboards, into a sound that would be otherwise pretty normal for the moody rock that’s out there today. Dan Layus was hunched over while singing plaintively on “Love Me.” The band’s emotional soul was evident during “Wasteland,” and our favorite new song was “Heart Shaped Gun” where a sense of urgency and raw emotion broke through — definitely a song that would be on repeat during those dark days after a break up. Almost every note we have is positive regarding Augustana’s sound which bombarded us like waves crashing down on the shore. The only bad thing we noted was that the songs chosen to end the set were slower and just didn’t allow us to walk out of the Metro on a high note.

We entered this show with the thoughts of having to hear more of the same old love songs, but walked out with a couple of bands to look forward to hearing from in the future. If Nickel Creek has made you happy — then Augustana is one to watch, or if it’s the harder edges of BritPop that make you swoon — check out Vega4.