On April 1st Augustine took to the stage at Moriska Paviljongen in Malmö. Lundagård's Evan Farbstein watched a hypnotic concert that swayed the audience.
Shortly after nine on Friday April 1st, Augustine takes the stage at Moriska Paviljongen in Malmö. The young musician is backlit by blue spotlights and cloaked in smoke-machine smoke. A synth rendition of Chopin’s Clair De Lune plays from the speakers while Augustine and his band make their preparations – then he launches into one of his singles, Picking Up Speed, with no introduction.
Maybe he is shy, or maybe he is just eager to play the music: it is Augustine’s first show since 2020.
When I interviewed him in December, he talked about how he had felt the urge to “hide” while he was onstage during his first-ever concert. As he plays his first songs without addressing the crowd, I begin to wonder if he is hiding up there in the weak blue light. His face is obscured, and you can only see his silhouette, Frankenstein-like due to the broad shoulders of his sport coat. His on-stage moves are more like swaying than dancing.
Then the lights come on. He is wearing a robin’s egg blue sport coat over a collared pastel shirt, with pants matching the coat. He looks out at us like he is seeing us for the first time, and says in Swedish, sounding mildly surprised:
“You’re here. And I’m here. We are here.”
And we are here: about a hundred of us, in the standing-room-only dance hall at Moriskan, and as Augustine had been swaying on stage we’d been swaying right along with him. Some in the crowd are clearly fans, and show this by singing along to every song. But others are new to his music, like medical student Karl Borgstrand, who came to the concert because some of his friends were going. He listened to a few Augustine songs before coming, and enjoyed it:
“It’s soft. Sunset music.”
Augustine would likely be happy to hear his music described that way. When I last interviewed him, he had said he wanted his music to feel warm. And when it came to his live music, he said was looking for a different kind of heat: the disorienting, burning blur of a fever dream.
The concert does go on like a dream, with the lights brightening and dimming, the music swelling and receding, moments of clarity and then lapses into dazedness. He saves his two biggest hits for the encore: Luzon, followed by Guts. As the relatively fast-paced Guts starts up, with the stage lights on full blast, the metaphorical fever peaks: the crowd sways, and jumps, and dances.
Then the song is over, and with it, the concert. The house lights come on. The fever breaks, and the crowd wakes from the collective dream.
Augustine tour ends in Stockholm on Friday April 29th.