Vance Joy radiates warmth at Leeds Union Stylus

Whilst Leeds recovered from last week’s snowmageddon, a slice of Australian sunshine was a most welcome respite. That sunshine came in the form of Vance Joy, who kicked off his world tour in our very own students’ union on Tuesday.

Showcasing the recently released Nation of Two, the catchy and delectable nature of Vance’s second album was wonderfully evident, with the word-perfect crowd singing back every note to the Melbourne-born singer. As such, most of the show featured his voice and his strings as the centre piece, alternating between ukulele and various acoustic guitars. The resultant simplicity was a reflection of Nation of Two, which generally consists of wholesome and melancholic chimes throughout, and made for a night of blissfully easy listening.

For his more daring tracks, Vance was accompanied by six other artists on saxophone, brass, bass and keyboard. These additional layers of sound lifted songs such as ‘Lay It On Me’ into their element, while also allowing Vance to move away from his usual earthy voice to explore a more purposeful shrill voice in ‘Like Gold’. Being only five years into his music career, tracks like this suggest Vance may be considering detracting from his winning formula of sunny guitar riffs to explore different, more elaborate musical avenues.

This doesn’t mean Vance is leaving the balmy vibe totally behind; the show featured folky and down-to-earth tunes aplenty. A most delicious export, the gig felt freshly bottled up from the beaches of the Australian coastline, with even Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’ and Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long’ receiving the Aussie treatment.

Whilst his song-writing may not be ground breaking, Vance brought a much-needed warmth and good feels to Stylus. His performance gave the audience a longing for summer, and a hope that it may lie just beyond the horizon. But in the meantime, we’ll have to close our eyes, whack the heating up and play his album on repeat until we even get close.

Emily Jacklin

All images by Marta Calore