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Photos: Vance Joy at Express LIVE!

Grant Walters Grant Walters Photos: Vance Joy at Express LIVE!Photos by Grant Walters.
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The Australian singer-songwriter and opening act Alice Merton were a big draw for concert-goers last Wednesday night at Express LIVE!

Although the mid-May heat made it feel more like July, it proved to be no hindrance for Vance Joy’s capacity crowd last week as they eagerly packed the lawn (still a little damp from soaking showers earlier in the day), pit, and everywhere else in between where they could find a spot to catch a glimpse of the affable Aussie and his guitar.

Opening for Joy was multinational singer-songwriter Alice Merton, who quickly grabbed the masses’ attention with her stunning vocals, especially as she tore into emerging radio hit and title track from her debut EP, No Roots.

Just as dusk fell, Joy appeared on stage amidst a back-lit surge of fog with “Call Me If You Need Me.” Aside from the neon glimmer of a few projected images of the Nation of Two album art and the glow of the typical spotlights that illuminated his tall frame and tousled hair, the theatrics were limited. Although some may scoff at the lack of digital eye candy or choreographed moves, it’s actually rather refreshing to see a large-venue show where not much else was needed besides the artist and his guitar (or his uke, depending on the arrangement) to fully engage the audience for 90 minutes.

Joy whisked through 17 songs culled from his two studio albums (including his 2014 debut, Dream Your Life Away), pulling his band into the mix occasionally to support him on more robust tracks like “Lay It On Me” and “Riptide.” He deviated slightly from his own material for a likable mash-up of Lionel Richie’s 1983 R&B anthem “All Night Long (All Night)” and Justin Bieber’s 2015 radio staple “Sorry.” A small brass section added an enjoyable little bit of punch to the solid rhythm players in all the right places.

As if mechanically timed, Joy finished his show — sans encore — with his irresistibly catchy current single, “Saturday Sun,” just before another rainstorm rolled into the city.

Joy’s US tour will continue through June 16 with a stop in Dover, Delaware before it makes a brief detour to Canada for a national run. He’ll be back on American soil on July 1 in the Seattle area through July 14, when the current leg wraps up in Birmingham, Alabama. After a recess in August, Joy will return home for a series of dates in Australia and New Zealand.

Full Show Set List: Call If You Need Me / Mess Is Mine / Like Gold / Take Your Time / Alone With Me / Fire and the Flood / I’m With You / Little Boy / Bonnie & Clyde / Wasted Time / Georgia  One of These Days / All Night Long (All Night) (Lionel Richie cover)-Sorry (Justin Bieber cover) / We’re Going Home / Riptide / Lay It On Me / Saturday Sun

Read more about Vance Joy in our Columbus Underground concert preview and interview from May 16.


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