Print Edition: February 18, 2015
Andy Shauf blessed Vancouver with his presence on Thursday February 5 while on tour in support of his new album The Bearer of Bad News, which was released February 3.
Shauf achieved a feat with his performance that is nigh myth in the city of Vancouver: famous for never shutting up during performances, the Vancouver crowd was silenced on Thursday night as Shauf coaxed out honeyed melodies from his freshly stocked repertoire of tracks.
Seconds after arriving onstage, Shauf kicked into song with “Wendell Walker” from his new album, and the venue fell under his spell. The silence was so perfect that a ripple went through the crowd three-quarters of the way through the song when the gentle clinking of bottles sounded clearly from the bar.
The atmosphere of the show matched the silence. The venue allowed fans to be mere feet from the performers with no barricade. Onlookers sat cross-legged on the speakers at the front of the stage with many others leaning in over the edges of the stage.
As ever, Shauf gathered up the heartstrings and captured the sympathy of his listeners with the debut of two unreleased melancholic melodies, “Lick Your Wounds” and “Early 2 the Party.” Each of these songs offered his usual smooth sounds but were punctuated with heartbeats of silence here and there, creating a powerful effect.
Between songs, Shauf attempted to converse with his audience, offering a perfectly timid, shy, yet cheerful dialogue. In an attempt to make conversation while he tuned his guitar, Shauf asked if the audience had any questions. One fan yelled, “How do you eat your Oreos?” at which Shauf chuckled but didn’t answer, due to it being a long, not really interesting, and barely funny story.
Closing out his show with another new song, “Martha,” Shauf and his companions left the stage without warning. As per tradition, the audience screamed, yelled, and shouted for him to return. However, Shauf held out and left the audience screaming and hollering for an encore for what seemed like too long. Some nearly started to give up hope when he emerged once again, this time alone. He took up his guitar and requested from the audience what they would like to hear.
After he had crooned out one final tune with his instrument, he bowed and left the stage. As the satisfied crowd started to thin, Shauf appeared within it talking with fans and offered a much appreciated personal connection one by one with an eager line up of fans.
Also performing with Shauf was Vancouver band Holy Hum. Comprised of Andrew Lee and four other sound-makers, their music combined the ethereal sounds of Sigur Rós with the build and progressive style of Deadmau5 to churn out pleasantly drawn out masterpieces of sound.
Three of them crouched over a table topped with a jumble of cables, mixers, laptops, and keyboards as they prepared for the crowd a feast of sounds combined with the looped guitar riffs from Andrew Lee and pounding beats of the drummer. A welcome surprise, the band played a 45-minute set that seemed like one long, musical meal.