augustana1.jpg
Augustana, Lauren Shera

Tractor Tavern

Wednesday, Jan. 9

If you didn't already know, Seattle's kind of a big deal right now.

We love gay people

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Augustana and Lauren Shera - Tractor Tavern - Wednesday, Jan. 9

augustana1.jpg
Augustana, Lauren Shera

Tractor Tavern

Wednesday, Jan. 9

If you didn't already know, Seattle's kind of a big deal right now.

We love gay people and weed. Our Hawks are in the playoffs. Macklemore went platinum. And we may have just gotten our Supersonics back.

So when last night's opener Lauren Shera said she almost moved to Seattle a few years ago, but decided to relocate to Nashville instead, you couldn't help but feel a little sorry for her. You missed the train, girl.

Despite the slight, Shera's guitar-driven folk tunes felt at home in the Northwest, filling the small spaces between bodies packed into the Tractor with lots of feelings.

Led by tracks from the highly personal release, Once I Was A Bird, Shera's set was short but sweet. The tracks, like the artist, herself, skew calm and quiet - highlighting the poetic nature of her songwriting and showcasing the complexities of her melodies. And while they're the sort of thing you have to strain to hear over the noise at the bar, it's an effort that won't go unrewarded.

It's no secret headlining act, Augustana, has had its ups and downs in the last few years; in addition to dealing with a series of lineup changes and an underwhelming response to their most recent release, the act was dropped from Epic Records in late 2011 and forced to regroup. So when vocalist Dan Layus took the stage, joined by band mate David Lamoureux, it felt a bit like a rebirth.

Like Shera, Layus and Lamoureux were keen to adhere to the "we love Seattle" mantra of the night - trading in the robust, stadium-worthy sound they made famous in the early aughts for a stripped down, acoustic set more fitting of the venue.

The gimmick - if that's what it was - proved fruitful. And when Layus made the conscious effort to bring the crowd's favorite numbers even closer to home, they hit a stride.

Did he just say Seattle? Is he talking about the rain? Yes. And framed by the grittier, acoustic arrangements the full room was quick to soak it in.

The rush of feelings was at an all-time high when someone toward the back of the room shouted "Supersonics" and was met with cheers.

Confused, Layus asked to be let in on the inside joke, then proceeded to dedicate the next song - fittingly titled "I Need A Little Sunshine" - to the "mother-fucking Supersonics."

His naivety was sweet. And while the delivery wasn't perfect every time - Layus' vocals cracking with emotional undercurrents on "Boston," Lamoureux's messy accordion riffs bouncing across the stage - it's exactly the kind of stuff Seattle wanted, rather, needed to hear.

They're definitely not the same band they were when they topped the charts, but they're better for it, and we'll take them back. Just remember to bring that Shera girl again - we liked her too.

 
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