Live Review: Lauris Vidal and Andy Shauf at The Drunken Unicorn, September 8

By Giles Turnbull

If you thought drunken unicorns were thin on the ground, they weren’t badly outnumbered by the crowd as Andy Shauf took the stage. This was a great shame, because Andy, recently voted one of USA Today’s Pop Candy “Pop Five Canadian Artists You Should Be Listening To,” is a fine songwriter. In his soft northern accent, he sings and chats with the audience, which in a small venue is like an intimate conversation. I’m looking forward to seeing more, with the energy of a bigger crowd pushing him further.

Lauris Vidal needs no extra energy; on stage he’s fully charged, and I would not be surprised if I was told his guitar strings were made of carbon fiber to withstand the force of their master’s playing. Lauris showed the kind of enthusiasm and vigor you’d expect to see if he was playing a sold-out stadium. There will be dents in the boards from the stamping beats in every song.

The lively set included songs from his forthcoming EP, Better Part (released September 21, read our review HERE), as well as favorites like “Dark Clouds,” from his previous EP, Shoot Shoot Your Skeletons.

As always there is a striking difference between the songs on record, backed by band, and the version you hear live, which depends on who is accompanying; tonight was just Lauris, playing guitar, with one fleeting jaunt on the beloved ukulele. New tracks like the reflective dub of “Tragedy,” aired with a more mellow, but equally individual personality on guitar.

You can be sure of a great time and a huge smile, as you get caught up in the songs flying out of the stomping, clapping, fierce strumming, uke shredding, banjo beating world of Lauris Vidal. Smile, this is what gigs, large or small, are all about.

Lauris Vidal’s EP, Better Part is released on September 21. Andy Shauf’s EP, Waiting For The Sun To Leave, is released on September 28, both on P is for Panda.

Andy and Lauris continue their East Coast tour thru September 24.


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