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Live Review: Augie March, Rowena Wise

7 May 2018 | 1:14 pm | Craig English

"Things have taken a turn for the rollicking, now, as 'Lupus' has fired up the drunk boomers down the front."

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It would appear the great Joni Mitchell has paid the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine a visit this evening.

One woman on stage playing stunning melodies on her guitar with the grace of a harpist and singing with a voice so angelic it would put Trio Bulgarka to shame must mean the Canadian - no... wait... it's Melbourne's own Rowena Wise. So confident in her craft, the reserved audience immediately warms to her charms, earning Wise well-deserved adulation. It's a minor crime that she's not a household name already but here's hoping this tour earns her the respect and notoriety she much deserves.

"Hello, Bendigo!" bassist Edmondo Ammendola jokes as Augie March quietly sneak onto the stage. It's going to be one of those nights. Slow number The Third Drink, lifted from this year's LP Bootikins kicks off proceedings although it's an odd choice for an opener, even by Augie standards. The audience are reverent though, thank heavens. Being such an intimate venue, it only takes a small handful of chatters to disturb everyone.

Into The Cold Acre now and few technical hiccups catch lead singer Glenn Richards off guard while drummer Dave Williams misses a few noticeable fills - we're officially off and racing! It's not a true Augie gig if it isn't mired by "mistakes" and mistimed melodies. But this is what their fans love just as much as their impressive catalogue of songs; it makes for hilarious onstage banter, particularly between Williams and Richards.

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In a stunning but rare display of democracy, Richards reluctantly informs us that he's given setlist writing duties over to Williams and Kiernan Box on the keys for tonight. It's making for an impressive mix of songs, too! The Offer from debut album Sunset Studies has never sounded so rich and bombastic. Richards is in marvellous voice for this one and carries this right through classics The Night Is A Blackbird and The Devil In Me.

Things have taken a turn for the rollicking, now, as Lupus has fired up the drunk boomers down the front having illegal amounts of fun. Dancing like your pissed dad at a wedding, one wonders if this is the first time they've been to a gig this entertaining in years.

A thunderous call for an encore rewards the crowd with One Crowded Hour and foot-stomper This Train Will Be Taking No Passengers. True to form, though, it's more of those classic "mistakes" that weave their way into gorgeous closer There Is No Such Place but the audience and band members alike have had too much of a good time to care. This is classic Augie. Welcome back, lads.