There’s no escaping it now. “Riptide,” Vance Joy’s 2013 hit – like the ultimate definition of hit – song is one that there’s no denying. The guy can write a great pop record. And that smile? It’s no wonder that on the power of only one studio full-length, Vance Joy sold out The Paramount and made the night of an untold number of young ladies. The house lights dim and the crowd shuffles closer as a “Vance Joy” marquee lights up the back of the stage and Joy’s band files into place. He opens the set with the vulnerable “Mess is Mine,” everyone clapping right along, his dark mop of curls and genuine grin easily winning over the crowd.
Nearly every track comes with friendly banter, funny stories about song origins told in an adorable Australian accent. These are love songs, break-up songs, songs about crushing hard. “Straight Into Your Arms” finds plenty of couples, arms entwined, swaying along to its sweet melody. Joy changes up guitars quite often, and rotates in his ukulele throughout the show. The set list is perfectly cohesive, changing tempos just enough to keep it fresh. People scream and whistle for “Georgia” and Joy lets the audience take the chorus on “Riptide” before covering Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” to close out the set.
Touring with Joy is the now-Grammy-nominated Elle King, a twenty-six year old with the voice of a bluesy old soul singer. She plays a killer banjo, knocks it out of the park on attitude, and gives a shout-out to the good folks at Motley Zoo, from whom she adopted her pup. She’s fantastic live, belting out the kind of notes that demand your attention, songs both instantly familiar and completely original – minus a mind-blowing cover of The Beatles’ “Oh! Darling.” King lets her voice rip like one of the greats and has so much flair and personality that there’s a lasting career there for this young gun.
Opening the night was Brit singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson. The first signee to Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records, Lawson is already rocking a number one album in the UK. This acoustic-toting, love-touting, Big Bang Theory-watching musician is one we’re sure to be hearing more from.
Vance Joy Set List:
Mess Is Mine
Winds of Change
All I Ever Wanted
Straight Into Your Arms
From Afar/Wasted Time
Play With Fire
Best That I can
You Can Call Me Al (Paul Simon cover)/Cheerleader (OMI cover)
My Kind of Man
Fire and the Flood