It was at The Great Escape last year. Brighton was surprisingly sunny, and I was walking to one of the festival’s venues to go watch a musician I had discovered a few months earlier in the very long list of bands booked: Andy Shauf.
He was playing an early evening slot, not too far from the beach, and I was pretty proud of myself for being not only on time, but even a little bit early to the show – a miracle.
The room was packed. People seemed to be excited when Andy sat down behind a keyboard. “Weird“, I thought to myself, “He was supposed to play with a band, and to be on guitar…” Was it going to be some sort of piano solo show?
First track: “What the fuck is that?”
Second track : “What is this wannabe-pop-star voice? It can’t be him.”
Third track : “Tell me it’s not him.”
(Yes, I talk to myself quite a lot)
Around me, nobody seems to be baffled or disappointed. People are singing along – dancing even – to some kind of sloppy pop, so far away from Andy’s graceful lullabies.
I’m so confused that I eventually text one of my friends who’s supposed to be at the show too:
“What is happening with Andy Shauf? It’s so bad.”
“Are you kidding me? It was beautiful“, he replies.
“No, it’s not! It’s terrible! I don’t think I’m gonna stay“, I say.
“Wait, where are you? Andy’s gig ended two hours ago.”
I’ll never know who I saw that evening, but, thank God, it wasn’t Andy, whose show got rescheduled earlier that day in another venue – I do not thank you stupid French phone with no data abroad.
Big fail, yes, but not a complete fail, though. A few months later, by a warm August afternoon, we walked throught the almost-empty streets of Paris with Andy and his band to shoot a Take Away Show, and to confirm that the Canadian boy is a precious songwriter. Someone who sings about (other people’s) life in melancholic but bright pop and dreamy folk songs.
The band played “Jenny Come Home” and “The Worst in You”, a new track from their very promising upcoming album ; then Andy grabbed a guitar and sang a delicate stripped-down version of “My Dear Helen” solo. To think that I could have missed that because of a rescheduled gig and a big misunderstanding…
Andy Shauf’s album, The Party, will be released on May 20th on ANTI-.