[Live Review] Vance Joy

Vance Joy

The Tivoli

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It was a warm night when hipsters and house wives alike gathered at The Tivoli to see the sold out concert for Vance Joy. Even the guy busking outside for money to buy a ticket to see the show couldn’t contain his excitement to be able to witness Vance’s first solo tour. Since touring with Brisbane’s own favourite son Bernard Fanning recently Joy’s star has begun to rise and his following has swollen to much larger proportions. The run away commercial success of single Rip Tide adding to the hype. Tonight many fans await with baited breath to see if Vance Joy can deliver all that is promised.


A large back drop with the name Vance Joy illuminates the singers entrance. Opening with “From Afar” a soft sweet piece to slowly introduce the fans to the evening. It’s the debut single from EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing and is a low key way to open the show.

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He proves that he is skilled with the guitar, however as a showman he is very quiet and subdued. He rarely speaks and when he does with his tendency to mumble is difficult to hear him. It comes across as a shy man that could be just a little over whelmed by all the hype that surrounds him.

Sticking mostly to songs from the album at times the set list is track for track and at this leads to a little predictability for those familiar with the album. “Winds of Change” “Mess is Mine” and ” Wasted Time” all playing within succession of each other. Not surprisingly he steers clear of playing “Rip Tide” too soon, instead launching into a very sweet version of Bruce Springsteen’s” Dancing in the Dark”. He takes the classic well known song, slows it down and makes it his own. His voice tends to wobble a little during the night and he has an overly noticeable wide vibrato. At moments this is distracting, however the sweetness of the lyrics overcomes the lack of control in his vocal ability.

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The highlights for the evening is undoubtedly “Georgia” and “Emmylou”, both such mesmerising songs with bitter sweet themes that lend to a certain sadness and longing. The crowd sings along to Georgia; a saccharine moment as every person sways in unison. For the most part however, Joy’s inability or unwillingness to interact with the audience leaves the show some what lack lustre and not overly memorable. Whilst his singing is mostly pleasant, if listeners have the ability to ignore some of the flaws in the performance then the night is mostly enjoyable.


Switching to the ukulele for the moment everyone has been waiting for Joy launches into “Rip Tide” to round out the evening. The song is uplifting and during the chorus it soars. The pleasure that one brilliantly written catchy, quirky song can bring is a wonderment. It’s a perfect high to end the evening and smart choice for the last song. A short encore of “Play with Fire” and Fleetwood Mac’s ” The Chain” closes the show. Vance Joy has proven with this evenings set that he is a capable performer, very good guitarist and amazing song writer. Leaving the venue it is clear to see there are smiles all around and he has lived up to his namesake by spreading quite a bit of joy around for his legion of fans.


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