Augustana at Subterranean

By Bruna Rosario

19 Nov, 2019

This past Tuesday night at the Subterranean caught me by surprise, since Augustana’s crowd was definitely not one that I am used to. As I made my way closer to the stage, I overheard a mother checking in on her son before he went to bed, and I saw a couple that was celebrating their wedding anniversary that night. Being used to younger and more chaotic crowds, I immediately felt somewhat weird. As if I didn’t belong. As if I were invading this special bond between Augustana and their decade-long fans. I soon overcame this feeling, though, when this 30ish-year-old woman offered me her spot because I was significantly shorter than her. She asked if that was my first time seeing Augustana, and I nodded my head “yes.” She, then, said, “oh, you’re gonna love them.”

And how right she was. When they stepped onstage and started playing “Stars and Boulevards,” I was immediately brought back to 2012, when I used to blast out this song (actually, this entire album) in my bedroom. I was completely swept away by nostalgia, and to hear Dan Layus’ warm but slightly raspy voice live was exactly what I needed at that moment. The night was soothing and melancholic in the best possible way: their set was filled with fan favorites, such as “Either Way, I’ll Break Your Heart Someday,” “Sweet and Low,” and “Rest Shame Love,” and the entire crowd was vibing within the same frequency. 

As Dan Layus was making his way to the keyboard, I knew the moment I had been waiting for had arrived. When he started playing the first notes of “Boston,” I felt as if the world around me had stopped. It was one of those glorious moments in which the crowd becomes one with the song, and the power of music is virtually palpable. Augustana gave us the most heartfelt performance, and everyone was in awe and sang this song at the top of their lungs. It was magical.

They, then, ended their set with “Twenty Years,” from their 2008 album Can’t Love, Can’t Hurt, which was the perfect way to encapsulate this night flooded with nostalgia and bittersweet memories. I left the Subterranean feeling refreshed, serene and overjoyed.