The beloved heartland rock band Augustana, along with England’s alt-pop darlings Scars on 45 are scheduled to play Portland soon. So get focused, procure tickets and gather your friends up for a night of fun…here’s why.
Scars on 45
This Indie rock band from England opens the Dec. 12 show at the Doug Fir. Their warm musical sound – a solid, comfortable setup of guitars, keyboards and drums – plays up the clear, sincere vocals of Danny Bremrose on gentle songs like “Heart on Fire.” Their wistful “Don’t Say” calls to mind Snow Patrol or Fleetwood Mac – and indeed, Fleetwood Mac is one of the band’s inspirations.
This dedicated hard-touring 5-member group from Bradford consists of Danny Bemrose (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Aimee Driver (vocals), Stuart Nichols (bass guitar), David “Nova” Nowankowski (keyboards, backing vocals) and Chris Durling (drums, percussion). Band member Nova discovered singer Aimee Driver when the two were school mates; that’s fortunate, since her voice is a pitch-perfect match for the harmonies she sings with lead singer Bemrose.
Currently touring to promote their “Safety in Numbers” release, their setlist is sure to include their new “Crazy for You” hit single.
Crazy for You
The hallmarks of this heartland rock band are the clear earnest vocals and consistently strong songwriting skills of 29 year-old lead singer-songwriter Dan Layus, who cites Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen as among his inspirations.
Best known for their hit song “Boston,” Augustana has released 4 albums including the 2008 “Can’t Love, Can’t Hurt ” from which their plaintive hit single with the big guitar sound “Sweet and Low” was born. They’ve sold more than half a million albums; Layus is skilled on both guitar and piano, and never fails to mesmerize a crowd.
Sweet and Low
Augustana has toured with the Goo Goo Dolls, Counting Crows and Maroon 5, and performed on both Jay Leno and the Late Show with David Letterman. Faithful fans tweet about their concerts regularly, and there are whole Blogs dedicated to Augustana. Over the years the band has had 4 or 5 members; a couple years ago they conscientiously and gradually disbanded, leaving Layus at the helm of the Augustana enterprise.
The newest release: “Life Imitating Life,” 12 reflective, inspirational tracks penned by Layus and recorded with various studio musicians. Released earlier this year, it solidified his musical standing and ability to emerge unscathed from life on the road and the challenges of the music world.
The new album was produced by John O’Mahony (Coldplay) on a new record label, Washington Square, and delivers the goods. The sparkling track “Ash and Ember” – one of the singles from the new release – evokes the image of a phoenix, appropriately enough, giving us the sense we can expect to have the tenacity and talent of Layus around for years to come. We’ll toast to that – and to the Doug Fir for booking these 2 great acts.
Ash and Ember
If you’re thinking you’ve seen Augustana and Scars on 45 paired up before, you’re right. They delivered a stellar night of incredible music at The Aladdin a couple years back. If the upcoming show is anywhere near as good as that one, fans have lots to look forward to.
Getting excited yet?
Check out their websites, above, to hear more of their music, or visit the Doug Fir Lounge webpage for concert details.