Augustana returned to Atlanta Nov. 28 at The Loft, touring in support of the band’s fifth album, Life Imitating Life. The album, the first since the departure of several band members, has received critical praise since its release in April of this year, with lead single “Ash and Ember” getting steady radio play.
Fans who got there early were treated to a great set from supporting act Colony House, an indie trio out of Nashville. The band, named after the apartment complex that all of them lived in at one point in time, performed songs from its debut album, When I Was Younger, such as “Keep On Keeping On,” “Roll With the Punches” and current single “Silhouettes.”
Then it was on to Scars on 45, a four piece rock act out of Bradford, UK. The band, driven by the lush harmonies between co-vocalists Danny Bemrose and Aimee Driver, just released sophomore album Safety in Numbers in October and single “Crazy For You” has become their most successful to date. Before performing the song, Bemrose and Driver told the audience the story behind it; they had two friends who were both secretly pining for each other for years without ever saying anything. Eventually the couple got together and ended up getting married, thus inspiring the song. The band’s first single, “Heart on Fire,” kept things going, with Bemrose and Driver performing it with an understated elegance. Halfway through the set, the duo asked the audience if they would be okay with a very intimate performance, then proceeded to hop off the stage and weave their way into the crowd to perform a hushed, acoustic version of “Tasted Every Tear.”
With the crowd sufficiently warmed up, Augustana took the stage and kicked things off with “On The Other Side,” a track from the band’s 2011 self-titled release. Front man Dan Layus was all smiles as he continued with current single “Ash and Ember” from Life Imitating Life. The new album is a turning point for him, as he remains the only founding member of Augustana. “Ash and Ember” is about the transition to this new state of the band, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Layus said. The Life dominated set list with songs such as “Need a Little Sunshine,” “Youth Is Wasted on the Young” and “Fit Together” was well received by the crowd. “I Still Ain’t Over You,” “Hey Now” and “Sweet and Low” took fans back to 2008’s Can’t Love, Can’t Hurt, while “Sunday Best” represented the band’s first album, 2005’s All the Stars and Boulevards. Layus then took his seat behind the piano for “Fire,” “Remember Me,” and the band’s biggest hit, “Boston,” during which Layus ad-libbed lyrics to the end of the song, telling the audience that he remembered recording it in Atlanta “Just down the street” 10 years ago and he was glad all of the fans “Still remember my name.” Layus returned to guitar to close out the night with “Shot in the Dark.”