Words/Photo Glenn Blomfield
It cant go without notice, glancing around me, the youthful audience and scaled heavily more on the female side. Even the thought crossed my mind, the males in attendance could be partners, dragged along by their girlfriends. As soon as Vance Joy hit the stage the female quota hit screaming, joyous frenzy. At this point, I realised Vance Joy has impressive popularity, and growing swooning admirers. Joy came on stage looking like the ‘boy next door’, shirt and jeans and just his guitar, a solo show. From that point on, especially for the females in the crowd, he had them at ‘Hello’.
This was Vance Joy’s first headliner in NZ, selling out the ‘Tuning Fork’ venue. This kid is on the rise, as proven by his accolades from The Australian Music Awards, and with his hit songs hitting the air waves, he looks and feels fresh, the beginning of what could be a big career. I couldn’t help but think of an Aussie ‘Ed Sheehan’ breaking out. Last time Vance Joy had played in NZ was at Laneway Festival 2014. The first song of the evening is ‘Hold on Darling’, the room filling with joyous female screaming, the beginning of a repetitive theme to the evening. Joy has a connecting melancholy in his voice, his music has rising moments of power, that releases that feeling of vulnerable emotion, as he immerses himself in his music. The audience seemed well rehearsed, singing along, knowing the lyrics to his new tracks.
I found his songs have a lot of familiarity compared to each other, it did feel like a wash of the similar again and again. Not sure if that’s because of the solo show environment, without an accompanying band, or the songs themselves. Vance Joy is a talented guy commanding a connection with his audience. Girls swaying lovingly along to those high wailing notes. Connecting with lyrics “I’m with you, there you are”, “She is electricity running into my soul”, in-between songs there is the odd anecdote Vance Joy shares, which results in responses of ‘Ohhh…cute” from female fans.. He connects with his fans and it is working. Now I know I mention the female audience a bit, however, there are definitely a good proportion of guy fans enjoying the show and singing along also.
At the evenings end ‘Were Going Home’, a twee pop melancholic tune, felt more solid. At this stage I can hear comparisons to Jack Johnson or even Tom McRae. The song that synchronised the procession of phones out “Lady running down to Riptide…” mass singalong had wild ladies reacting. Highlight for me was the encore where Vance Joy did a cover of Bruce Springsteen ‘Dancing in the Dark’ which seemed I was the only one singing along, for the first time in the evening the general youthful audience was not able to compete. That also is the perfect summary of the evening for me.
Vance Joy is back on these shores in September with his full band playin