Vance Joy, Brixton Academy, March 7. A romantic pink set the scene, before a blackout and the entrance of Vance’s band. There was a soft rise from the percussion, layered with keys for a welcoming introduction as the crowd reacted with applause.
The lighting rose from underneath as Vance Joy bounded on to the stage, guitar in hand, a buzz filling arena as the stage flooded with a delicately warm orange glow, suitably fitting for his opening track “Fire And The Flood“. I felt the excitement myself as Vance looked over the moon as he looked out on the sea of people. It was his biggest London show yet.
Vance’s performance was consistently nice throughout the first half, I could not fault his energy and passion. For Vance and his crowd, it wasn’t supposed to be about brash staging and surprises, it was about feel-good records and relatable lyrics, ultimately refreshing.
This was shown with “From Afar” taken from his first album. This certainly had that uplifting country feel but still echoed some sense of sadness. In counteraction to this, “Take Your Time” was more upbeat as people began to warm up their dancing with a little bop from side to side, it was no doubt that Vance was a shining light of positivity to his fans.
The backing vocals layered the track to create a production that impacted and rippled through the venue with ease, a subtle lighting with a soft fade out to finish, the whole setting was so aesthetically appealing.
The whole crowd was electric throughout, they were excited just by his presence and there was a certain sense of community among his fans, definitely how it should be. Up next was “Like Gold“, the crowd were his own personal choir as they sang back every word.
Vance Joy is the perfect soundtrack for any one who has felt heartbreak and is in need of their heart healing. “Wasted Time” highlighted this perfectly, his raspy vocals rippling through the epic Brixton venue accompanied by Saxophone, it was a subtly beautiful element to the whole set, adding to the groove and overall ambience.
The band then took a break, leaving the stage to let Vance strip it back. It was so natural and raw, with his impeccable vocals soaring into the space and every singular pluck on the guitar strings echoed around the academy for “Call If You Need Me“.
“I’m With You” was next, a Sunday evening soundtrack for sure. It was evident he had honed in on his musical capabilities along time ago, a wondrous amount of rise and fall in his vocals, belting out his top range when necessary and reigning it in at pinnacle moments of the track. The crowd were hanging on to every word, from where I was standing I could see the full engagement of this large crowd.
His talented band returned for my favourite track of Vance’s “Georgia“. This gushed sensitivity and romanticism. The subtle but beautifully executed lighting complimented the track and made it all that more special. The rise into the chorus saw a rush of white light sweep across the backdrop.
There was a beautiful moment as the lighting created a portal like effect against the dry ice as it projected across the audience, setting a scene that allowed you to relax and connect with the lyrics. Before following with the beautiful new track “We’re Going Home“, he took time to introduce his band thoroughly.
He really turned it up a gear for the rest of the set. “Saturday Sun“, a song about “hoping that feeling for someone hasn’t gone” boosted the mood from reflective to energetic, the lighting transitioning to a suitable sunshine yellow.
As someone who isn’t a huge fan of the ukulele as an instrument, Vance’s charm and the positive atmosphere he had created, allowed me to look past it. The pace continued to pick up with an unpredictable cover that incorporated “All Night Long” and Justin Beiber’s “Sorry”. The added brass element really shook it up, to be honest it was less of a cover and more of a spin off as it fitted into his set as if it were his own release.
An encore was inevitable, he arrived on stage to an electric cheer as he began “Lay It On Me“. The dancing commenced for “Mess Of Mine” the instrumental breakdown had the crowd grooving, hands were in the air across standing as well as up in seating.
Joy by name Joy by nature, the whole production from stage, set list and lighting oozed class, charisma and charm. An evening that left me glowing with positivity inside and out.
Words by Jodie Brunning