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Live Review: Vance Joy, #1 Dads

1 April 2015 | 11:36 am | Ran Boss

"His romantic stories of love and contemporary life are compellingly crafted and capture some sentimental facets of the young inner-suburban middle-class."

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The Thebarton Theatre hosted the closing stages of Vance Joy’s Dream Your Life Away tour – he’s off to spend the rest of 2015 conquering the world – and a solid crowd was on hand to bid him a fond bon voyage.

Before Mr Joy took to stage though, the crowd was treated to stripped-back fellow Victorian indie popster’s #1 Dads. Big Scary frontman, Tom Iansek’s current project has garnered a dedicated following since last year’s About Face release and there was a fair show of support for the low-key vibes. On balance the Dads were maybe a little too subdued to really get through to a room that, Iansek himself admitted, was ‘Vance Joy’s crowd’.

That point was reiterated when the fuzzy-haired Coburgian himself made it to the stage and proceded to parade a selection of tracks from his current album. Vance Joy’s attendant band ebbed and flowed by song, fluctuating between the man alone and a six-piece (replete with sychronised-swaying horn section). This kept the performance a bit more dynamic than it could have been. Similarly the adapted Hollywood flashbulb lighting scheme injected some schmaltz to an otherwise largely relaxed set.

With the first few chords of each new song someone else in the crowd would turn to their bestie and excitedly exclaim, “This is your song!” – living giddy testament to the depth of the current album. The folk-pop hits came thick and evenly paced: the current single Georgia standing out as a more energetic highlight, along with a pretty rousing cover of Dancing In The Dark, Red Eye also flagging itself as worthy of attention with Joy showing some signs of vocal uniqueness in some of the quivering refrains. The strongest reaction was, of course, reserved for the appearance of the ukulele during the encore: it was Riptide time – and the rendition didn’t disappoint – so very much singing along. There’s nothing complicated or pretentious about Vance Joy’s music. It’s pretty simplistic on balance: his vocals are solid, the arrangements are appropriately rambling, but the real appeal of the modern minstrel’s work is his lyricism. His romantic stories of love and contemporary life are compellingly crafted and capture some sentimental facets of the young inner-suburban middle-class.

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If his 2015 tour schedule is anything to go by, the rest of the world is resonating to it too. After a few more shows in the eastern states, Joy is off to the US (including a Coachella appearance and even a Taylor Swift support slot), Canada and the UK, before rounding out the year with a few shows back at home.