Review Colin Crawford Photos Jack Perry
On a Sunday night in October we caught Andy Shauf on the eighth stop of his extensive North American tour. It was immediately evident why this artist was a Polaris Prize finalist after seeing him and his band live. We were treated to a majority of songs off his critically acclaimed release The Party; an album full of melancholy yet charming vignettes of a small town life. Crowd favourites included the ‘Eyes of Them All,’ ‘The Magician’ and last year’s stand-alone single ‘Jenny Come Home.’
Cautiously scanning the crowd over and almost hiding behind the microphone and his guitar, Shauf’s stage presence is as interesting as it is understated. Despite the chatter of the crowd at the back of the venue being heard during the softer moments of the evening, it was still a very engaging set. Shyly smiling and making cursory small talk while tuning, the frontman let the music speak for itself. Each song from this Regina artist feels like a short story from a fly on the wall in your life. Through swelling crescendos and dramatic pauses, the narrative arcs and characters of these folk songs take on a new emotional layer in the live performance. The sincerity and vulnerability of his lyrics are perfectly aligned by the mood that Shauf and company create on stage, providing a subtly powerful experience. There is a tragic beauty and thoughtfulness in Shauf’s music that must be seen to be fully experienced. The eight minute encore track ‘Wendell Walker’ was the perfect ending to this Autumn Sunday night show.