Jamie Borenstein-Laurie (Staff Writer)
When Vance Joy’s hit song “Riptide” exploded onto the airwaves, hipsters the world over surely died a little bit inside as he rocketed from obscurity to become an international indie darling. But as they learned to change their pompous proclamations from “You probably don’t know who Vance Joy is…” to “I listened to Vance Joy before he was famous…” the world was exposed to an amazing new talent.
Vance Joy (codename for James Keogh of Australia) first came onto the scene in 2013 with his debut single “From Afar”. Having immerged only recently as an artist, Vance luckily struck gold with his super catchy indie folk tune “Riptide”.
Montreal got its first taste of Vance when he played a set at one of the smaller, more secluded stages at the Osheaga music festival. Beneath a burning sun and through a certain pungent haze, magic was made with an acoustic guitar and a ukulele. The collection of diehard fans present sang along to every song, but the first chord of “Riptide” had practically the whole audience singing at the top of its lungs.
Of course, at the time Vance had only released a handful of songs on his EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing. But his set at Osheaga was early promotion for his September album Dream Your Life Away.
In turn, this album is currently being supported by Vance’s North American tour which stopped off in Montreal on October 30th. Originally slated to play at the Corona Theatre, a completely sold-out house merited a venue change to the roomier Métropolis.
And as I neatly segue into my review portion of this article—because I was indeed in attendance last Thursday night, having also been at his Osheaga set—I can say that he put on one hell of a show.
The venue was completely packed, and I was thrilled to observe most people enthusiastically singing along to every song. Popular songs like “Mess Is Mine” and “From Afar” got the most cheers, and “Riptide” was belted joyously from every corner of the room.
Throughout the show, Vance wore a little dimpled half-smile and was utterly bashful. At one point, he even stared down at his feet in shyness during the minute-long ovation stirred up by one of his band members.
And it was definitely not an act! I can personally vouch for the fact that Vance is both grateful for his success and very dedicated to his fans. After the show, I was fortunate enough to have gotten the opportunity to meet the artist—along with the 50 or so other people who waited outside for him. He spent a personal moment with each of us, signed an autograph and took a photo. His one hundred percent authenticity
lends an enormous amount of integrity to his music, which is insanely good to begin with.
In conclusion, I am extremely biased because I spent most of the concert swooning from his boy-nextdoor charm and gorgeous voice (and gorgeous everything else about him). But I would certainly encourage fans of indie music that teeters between upbeat and poignant to go check out his music, because you will not be disappointed.