– by Shauna Loren Upton
Vance Joy, Thursday 19 March, The Astor Theatre
Supported by: Airling, #1 Dads
The first time I saw Vance Joy live was in the midst of a hot, heaving, sweating crowd on a 38 degree day at Southbound festival in Busselton. My focus was on ensuring I didn’t pass out or burn to a crisp rather than the soothing sounds of the 27 year-old, Melbourne based singer songwriter.
Needless to say I was quite excited to see him live at Mount Lawley’s Astor Theatre. The art deco theatre is one of my favourite live music venues in Perth and Vance Joy’s style of music certainly suited this intimate venue far better than a festival atmosphere.
Parking was typically awful as it generally is when there’s a gig on at the Astor, meaning I was in a mad hurry to make it inside in time for the first support act Airling. The awkward half walk-sprint I had happening down Beaufort Street was well and truly worth it to see the 2014 national Unearthed Splendour winner. Her ethereal vocals were hauntingly beautiful and commanded the attention of the entire theatre.
After being lulled into a sort of half dream, the second support act #1 Dads amped things up a notch. These guys have a few tunes getting some airtime with Triple J and they absolutely rocked it on stage this night. ‘Nominal’ was absolutely phenomenal (yes pun intended) as was ‘God Can Promise’, for which Airling’s Hannah Sheperd joined them onstage. The highlight of their set though, had to be their final song of the night when the sax got whipped out for the sexiest of solos.
Great support acts aside, what everyone was there for was the main man himself, Vance Joy and he certainly didn’t disappoint. His on stage presence is what failed to come across at Southbound with such a large crowd and such a big space for his music to get lost in. There was none of that at the Astor on Thursday night.
From the moment he stepped out on stage, Vance Joy commanded not just the attention of the entire crowd, but their respect with his incredibly humble nature. He fumbled on a note during his most recent single Georgia, and struggled a few times before grasping it, apologizing profusely to the crowd. It was the only time all night he’s musical skills weren’t completely on point and his handling of the situation was nothing short of endearing.
His rising status in the Australian music scene, thanks in part I’m sure to Triple J’s Hottest 100, ensured the crowd sang along to most of his songs and a combination of his aforementioned nature, along with his sweeter than sweet lyrics gave the effect that he was genuinely singing to you and only you despite the large crowd. This is my experience, is a rare quality and makes for an amazing live show.
Unsurprisingly the entire theatre went nuts when he donned the ukulele for we knew what was coming, his powerhouse of a song ‘Riptide’. The feel good, upbeat vibe of this track as well as the entire crowd singing along ensured it was virtually impossible not to enjoy this part of the evening. However, the hands-down highlight song was his cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’. It was surprising to say the least, with so many Triple J artist sticking to their previous Like a Version tracks if they’re going to play covers. He 100 per cent did the Boss proud though on this night, which topped off what was already an amazing evening of music.
Three encore songs later and it was safe to say the crowd had gotten their money’s worth. Vance Joy at the Astor Theatre really highlighted why some artists need to be seen up close and personal to be truly appreciated.
Photo Credit: Vance Joy Facebook Page