Stu Larsen & Natsuki Kurai Setlist
Matt Sanders Setlist
04/30/15 Chicago, IL Schubas Tavern
05/01/15 Columbus, OH Rumba Cafe
05/02/15 Toronto, ON Rivoli
05/04/15 Montreal, QC Petit Campus
05/05/15 New York, NY The Studio
05/06/15 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe Live
05/07/15 Washington, DC U Street Music Hall
05/09/15 Charlotte, NC Evening Muse
05/10/15 Decatur, GA Eddie's Attic
Like many folk singer/songwriter, Sanders is inspired by things around his life. For example, "Starlight" was about his niece's friend Piper who passed away at a young age and forced Sanders to think about life's fragility, its unpredictable nature, and how unfair sometime the universe can be. It's relatable, having had a close friend of mine passed away before her time.
Stu Larsen & Natsuki Kurai
Larsen is not wrong about Kurai. The way Kurai handles the harmonica is just incredible. He can be as subtle as a distance wind in the hills or as thunderous as a roaring freight train. The harmonica was only to embellish the acoustic guitars and vocals of Stu Larsen's songs.
Typical of singer/songwriters, Stu Larsen had stories about many of his songs. Sometime it's as obvious as the time he took a ferry from England to Ireland (entitled "Ferry to Dublin") or how some people are just buying "stuff they don't need" (as in "King Street").
Highlight of the show was when they asked Matt Sanders to come back on stage to help them play out to "The Mile". Just watching them fight over the custom wind chime instrument (made of "a potato masher and car keys"), you can tell they've been doing this for the other shows. With wide smiles all around, they are having a great time, doing what they love.
For the encore, Larsen and Kurai switched instrument for "Seaforth McKenzie". Not only was Kurai a talent on the harmonica, apparently he can also play guitar quite well. For this song, Kurai took lead vocals for the second half of the song.
It should also be noted that this was also a very special tour for Natsuki Kurai, who had always dreamed of visiting America. I sense that Stu Larsen, as a friend and collaborator, wanted to make his friend's dream come true and decided to organize this tour for Kurai. In any case, both Larsen and Kurai were very humble to do this for a living and always positive to meet their fans as they drive through the USA.
Stu Larsen's Vagabond is out now via Nettwerk. You can also pick up the Stu Larsen & Natsuki Kurai EP. The majority of the EP was recorded in Cairns, Australia, with one track, "San Francisco", recorded in Yokohama, Japan.
Stu Larsen (with Natsuki Kurai and Matt Sanders) at the Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis (29 April 2015)