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Augustines: "We knew we couldn't afford to keep doing this"

The ‘Not Famous’ Augustines have been downed by money problems in 2016. And their plight is a chillingly familiar one for bands operating at a time when the record industry is in free fall

"Cigarette break? Fuck off!” Augustines singer Billy McCarthy laughs disbelievingly when he spots someone in the sold-out audience at Brighton’s Concorde 2 heading outside. You’d need a very pressing engagement to miss this first night of the band’s farewell UK tour. No band this decade has poured out more open-hearted emotion on stage, or connected more deeply with what seemed a growing army of fans.

Although their three albums didn’t always capture the raw feeling at the heart of their huge, anthemic music, it was always there when they played live. Songs such as This Is Your Life, which McCarthy sings unamplified, letting the audience roar repeatedly: ‘Knock me down my friend, I’ll just get back up again.’ It’s a thrilling, freewheeling show; the gig of the year, in fact, full of goofy asides, deep passion and great rock’n’roll. And they play like this at every show. So why call time on the band now?

Talking to Classic Rock that afternoon, McCarthy puts the blame, “as unsexy as this is”, on money.

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