Vance Joy made a wonderful stop in Detroit on his Fire and the Flood tour Tuesday March 22nd, 2016.
Opening the show at the Fillmore was UK solo act, Jamie Lawson. Jamie kept it simple with just a mic, guitar, and album cover backdrop with his name inscribed.
With heartfelt jams and a mellow style, he won the crowd over with a swiftness, thanking the fans for being so welcoming.
Jamie explained that he was the first artist signed to Ed Sheeran’s record label, Gingerbread Man Records. Joking and stating the obvious Jamie laughed, “He’s pretty popular.
Lawson is touring in support of his self-titled album that came out last October.
Next up was Portland’s folk-rock band, Blind Pilot. The six-piece band hit the stage with a myriad of different instruments ranging from a trumpet, harmonium, banjo, upright bass, and so much in between. Holding an acoustic guitar, lead singer Israel Nebeker presented powerful lyrics, mixed with a delightfully modest stage presence.
Since their inception in 2008, the band has both gained members, and a knack for unique methods of touring. They have gone from a literal bike tour, to fashioning an old school bus into a tour bus.
With lovely harmonies and musicality galore, Blind Pilot certainly intrigued the crowd, and set the stage well for Vance Joy.
At 9:15, the lights dimmed into a blue haze. Band members came out and started into an intro for Vance’s album opener, “Mess Is Mine”. Australia’s Joy took the stage to a wave of cheers, occasionally being illuminated by his name in lights behind him.
Vance told the crowd that it was his first time in Detroit. Whilst occasionally marching in place to the beat and strumming away, Joy would flash a smile, clearly grateful for the warm reception.
Vance would bring a personal light to almost every song. A tremendously personal storyteller, he threw in bits about how songs were created, and what they were about.
For a song called “Snaggletooth” from his first EP, “God Loves You When You’re Dancing” released in 2013, Vance explained that its genesis came from a mild stalking session of Sia on Wikipedia. He discovered that she had a snaggletooth, and got to thinking about that one thing that folks can have that is off and are embarrassed by, yet everyone else loves. He admitted that he used to hate having curly hair. When he was six, his dad got him a cap. “I used to wear it to bed so that my hair was flat when I woke up”.
Before embarking on his wondrous hit “Riptide” with ukulele in hand, Joy elaborated that the single had opened a lot of doors, and allowed him to be on tour. A chorus of concert-goers sang along to every word, with Vance even going silent to listen at one point.
With a folk-pop style clearly vibed from the legendary Paul Simon, it was no surprise to hear Vance throw in a terrific cover of “You Can Call Me Al” toward the end of the set.
Vance Joy certainly let every single fan in the D know why his sound has captured the attention of music lovers everywhere. He will be on tour in the states through April 1st, before heading overseas to perform shows in his native land.
Words and photos by: Tiffany Cuthrell