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Show review: Andy Shauf brings bittersweet songs and stories to Victoria

Andy Shauf’s show at the Royal Theatre a soft and breathtaking listening experience
Andy Shauf performs in Victoria at the Royal Theatre on March 10, 2023. (Glen Butcher/Black Press Media Staff)

Some music fans went to see Juno-nominated singer-songwriter Andy Shauf perform songs from his highly successful album The Party in Victoria, but his concert was no rowdy celebration.

His show on March 10 at the Royal Theatre was a soft and breathtaking listening experience.

Shauf began his set by playing songs in the same order as his latest album Norm, which was released Feb. 10. Shauf’s lyrics often feature fascinating and flawed characters, and the new record is no exception.

Even before Shauf introduced himself, the show’s opening songs introduced us to Norm, the album’s troubled protagonist who discreetly watches a love interest.

“When he first began standing in the trees,” Shauf sang into a microphone covered in foliage during You Didn’t See. “Hiding his face behind the trunk. Shoulder peeking out. I covered it in leaves.”

Shauf is not a poet, he’s a broken heart but also a wonderful wordsmith.

The songs in the set blended well, with audience members unsure when to clap at times. It was so quiet you could and did hear a cellphone drop. It’s the way a Shauf show is meant to be enjoyed.

The rare moments when Shauf spoke were some of the most memorable of the night.

“Do you have any questions?” Shauf asked awkwardly, as is his tradition.

“Is your band called Bandy Shauf?” One audience member yelled.

“It is now,” Shauf responded as the crowd laughed.

The energy built and the stage lighting changed as Shauf transitioned into his back catalogue including Quite Like You from The Party and the title track from The Neon Skyline, the most upbeat tracks of the night. The crowd sang along but resisted the urge to dance.

The live show sounded impressively similar to Shauf’s albums.

Shauf and I both grew up in Saskatchewan, and he has been a hometown hero for many musicians in the province since the release of his breakthrough record The Bearer of Bad News in 2015. Shauf didn’t do any songs from that album, 2010’s Waiting For The Sun To Leave or 2009’s Darker Days.

Instead, he stuck with newer material and shifted to the B-side of Norm, including standouts Daylight Dreaming and Sunset, which Saskatchewan is known for.

He cleverly ended the set with All Of My Love singing, “Was all my love wasted on you,” the same lyrics featured on the new album and concert’s opening number Wasted On You.

After a quick break, Shauf returned to the stage and was greeted by an enthusiastic roar. He performed a short and sweet encore featuring only his hit The Magician, which has been stuck in my head ever since.

READ MORE: U.S. woman brings ashes to Victoria to see Jason Isbell play on anniversary of partner’s death


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Brendan Mayer

About the Author: Brendan Mayer

I spent my upbringing in Saskatoon, and in 2021, I made the move to Vancouver Island.
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