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June 12, 2009

Biased though I may be about my music, it’s high time I told you about the best band blowing up in Orange County. Nathan Gammill and brothers Lee, Eric, and Phil Neujahr form the band Aushua, and it’s about time you got off your chair and gave them a listen. I recently scoped the boys out at the bar above the Roxy- aka On the Rox- and despite a few minor equipment malfunctions, the boys rocked the stage. My only regret is that more people weren’t there to witness the spectacle.

Of all the bands I’ve seen in my short life as a concert goer, I’ve seen Aushua the most- from the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa, where they frequently hold residence, to the almost unbearably scenester Knitting Factory in LA. While the sound quality changes with the location (you can never trust sound engineers), the scene is always fun to soak in, and the boys never disappoint.

Aushua’s sound is rich and full, laden with beautiful lyrics and swirling melodies that are uplifting and at times catchy, upbeat, and danceable. The songs swim around the venue, and it’s not uncommon to see people at shows with their eyes closed, lost in musical bliss and swaying in time to the beats kicked out by drummer Lee Neujahr. The most common comparison I’ve heard made of them- and the influence is apparent- is U2. They capture the essence of the full, rich sound of Bono and the gang while still managing to show their own chops.

The set ranges from dance-y to almost ethereal, and it’s never boring. Nathan Gammill’s voice rings loud and true, tying the sound together. And it never ceases to amaze me how much musical talent runs in the Neujahr family- Eric’s guitar playing is clean and he knows how to use the pedals to achieve maximum effect, Phil’s bass playing stands out among the typical background filler bass players one would typically see at a show- he seriously works the neck, and Lee’s drummings pack a heavy punch. All in all, it makes for a united and great sound.

The show ended, as it usually does all the times I’ve seen them, with a favorite- locals who frequent their shows have become familiar enough to sing along. “Sister Saves” epitomizes the Aushua sound- its simple melody is backed by deep bass tones, perfect guitar echo, and some kickass drums. The end of the song hits a climax- Nathan’s voice soars through the music, singing “She takes you to the greatest heights/ See the world burning bright/ She makes it known/Then she leaves/In feathered waves of light/Far better on her mind/ She leaves you right there.”

Overall, I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad experience at an Aushua show, and I can never say enough great things about them. Really guys, they’re fantastic, and you won’t be disappointed. Catch them this summer on a massive US tour, supporting Nightmare of You at a city near you! More info about the guys and their tour dates can be found at www.myspace.com/aushua.

–Caitlin Elgin