Whoa. I’m standing two feet from the stage, holding a camera that I don’t really know how to use, as the stage goes dark, the band comes out and starts a brooding musical intro before the star of the night Vance Joy arrives. Where am I?
Vance Joy is supposed to be playing those pop-radio hits that we imagine sunshine would sound like. He’s got a full backing band and horn section. Isn’t he just an acoustic guitar player? The Fillmore was packed to the rafters for a Tuesday night show in late-March. Building, brooding musical intros are something you get from City and Colour, or Muse, not this Australian folk guitarist. None of this is adding up. But then I hear…
“Ohmigod! He’s so hot!!”
Oh yeah, he’s more than just a great singer-songwriter, he’s attractive AF, too. So maybe that’s why The Fillmore was…filled more. (wah-wah. Lame joke, I know.)
The adoring girls hugging the front row barrier couldn’t help but express their feelings for the shockingly tall (he’s 6′ 4″!), curly-haired, dimpled smile of Vance Joy. Hard to blame them, he’s a good looking fella. But, then he talked to the crowd with his Australian accent and it was game over for the ladies, and most of the men, too.
“Hello Detroit! Thanks for coming out and welcome to the Fire and the Flood tour!” he exclaimed.
As much as we all know Vance Joy for the song “Riptide,” the song I have grown to love the most is “Mess is Mine,” which he opened the set with at The Fillmore in Detroit. A fun tune about taking on someone that you love for who they are, faults and all. The crowd obviously knew the song as they sang along to all of the lyrics. A moving moment to start the show and it only got better from there.
With a rather brilliant color light show (look at the rainbow of colors in the photo above!), Vance Joy played most of the tracks from his only full-length studio album, Dream Your Life Away. Judging by the energy of the crowd, the high-point of the night was when he broke out the ukulele to sing us “Riptide.” The song where he, ironically, tells us “you’re gonna sing the words wrong,” as we are all singing the words. I wonder how many other people in the audience found that moment as mind-blowing as I did – other than the stoners.
Come to think of it, that’s my new goal in life: get a pothead really high and sing the lyrics to “Riptide,” then bring up how weird and meta it is and ask them to explain it in all their stoned philosophical glory. Chances are, the response will be the incredibly unsatisfying conclusion of simply, “Whoa, man,” then they move on to eating all the pizza rolls in the house. But still, it would be fun to try.
Vance Joy played a set of about 14 songs, ending with “Riptide” before his two-song encore, concluding the night with the tour namesake, “Fire and the Flood.” His collection of tunes are optimistic in the face of adversity, which is a perfect theme for Detroit. Spring may have officially began on Sunday, but the optimism for warmer weather and a brighter future for the city kicked into overdrive on Tuesday night at The Fillmore, with the help of Vance Joy.