Andy Shauf wins over loving but demanding crowd at long-awaited London show

With a little patience and trust in his songs, the Canadian singer-songwriter soon calms his overexcited crowd

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For all his shy and understated demeanour, the chord that Saskatchewan singer-songwriter Andy Shauf has struck with listeners since his 2016 breakthrough LP The Magician is immense. Never has this been clearer, at least this side of the Atlantic, than at Monday’s sold-out show at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, an event that finally escaped the wrath of postponements after two years.

Relief and excitement after such a long wait are only natural, and the hearty cheers of “We love you Andy” are actually more impressive than usual as he enters the stage with his band. But the talkative nature of large parts of the crowd soon becomes a little awkward; repeated shouts of “Turn it up” after opener ‘Neon Skyline’ are slightly valid, as the sound desk has their work cut out balancing the necessary volume with Shauf’s characteristically delicate and hushed sound. But even as ears begin to acclimatise, whistles are heard mid-song, requests are shouted out, and even at one point, someone enquires: “Do you like Capri Sun Andy?”

It’s all a little incongrous given his aesthetic and style — maybe some Great Escapers fancied keeping the party going — but Shauf deals with it like a champ, understanding their excitement and letting his music do the talking. Despite the early teething problems with volume, the crisp and dry production of his records are brought to life on stage, not least the dry hits of the snare or the warm clarinets on ‘Spanish On The Beach’.

For all their loving heckling, the crowd become deadly silent when Shauf plays and, in return, his band seem to up the ante; the moreish electric guitar line at the end of ‘Thirteen Hours’ seems so loud it makes some jump, while ‘The Magician’ culminates in an all-out prog-rock jam.