Craig Cardiff hits the Hub
Singer-songwriter shares his genuine sound with MRU
Last time Craig Cardiff graced the Hub’s stage was just before the release of his latest album, Love is Louder (Than All This Noise) in late 2013. Since then, he’s taken the new material all over Canada, including a stop on the Hub’s stage on Jan 21.
Cardiff’s music, for those unfamiliar with his work, has an acoustic folk, troubadour-esque sound layered on top of heartfelt and narrative lyrics that make any of his tracks incredibly inviting and easy to relate to, all elements of which were present at this performance at the Hub.
The show was also full of what fans of Cardiff know to expect of him — performances full of emotion and heart, sarcastic and witty humor and a genuine interaction with the audience.
“It can’t be a one-way conversation,” said Cardiff about interacting with his audience. “The reality is that the audience is the instrument.”
Achieving this level of connection with an audience can sometimes be difficult in the campus-bar setting — particularly here at The Hub. But the crowd didn’t for a moment faze Cardiff, who opened the show saying it was okay that some people weren’t there for his music.
That didn’t stop him, however, from putting those people on the spot during his performance.
One especially loud table in particular caught his attention early on and soon became the co-subjects of a song he wrote and sang in the moment on stage — and while no one from the table paid any attention to the song written about them, they still all clapped politely afterwards. He also convinced one attendee from that table to join him on stage and dance while he played.
But Cardiff’s performances are about much more than just audience interaction. For him, it’s about having a genuine connection.
“I’ve been at shows where (the performer) was ignoring (the audience) — kind of just on autopilot. I felt bad for us and for them,” said Cardiff. “It’s like a missed opportunity. The whole point is to give words and sounds that unlock people’s closedness.”
“All of us have songs that saved our lives,” Cardiff continued. “Whatever song it was for whoever — that song saved your life. It was because it helped us process a hard time; it helped us put words to something we were feeling that we couldn’t get through. So I think that’s what live shows should be. Part of that is bringing the audience into it. It’s more fun.”
One of the ways Cardiff achieves this connection is by passing out Books of Truth at his shows — notebooks in which he encourages his audience to share their truths.
Ultimately, Cardiff is an artist who genuinely wants to share an emotional connection with those who attend his shows. His music is warm and inviting and those things make his performances incredible evenings that celebrate the good in life. This show at The Hub was no exception and if you missed out this time you’ll definitely want to add Cardiff to your “must see” list so that doesn’t happen again.