REVIEW :: Vance Joy @ O2 Ritz Manchester {25.03.2018}

Australian singer-songwriter James Keogh, better known as Vance Joy, released his first EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing back in 2013, and has gone on to create two remarkable albums and a growing fan base who continue to support him with sold out shows all over the world.

His lyrically lead folk-pop music is honest and somewhat comforting  – listen to Vance on a rainy day or during a sunny drive and he’ll completely satisfy both moods. His lyrics are intimate and real as he writes about relatable topics such as romance.

Vance does particularly well to pull on our heartstrings with ‘Georgia’, ‘First Time’ and ‘Straight Into Your Arms’ from his debut album, Dream Your Life Away, first released by Liberation Music in 2014, as his lyrical content heavily embraces the element of love.

Sunday night was the final show of the European tour and fans waited in anticipation at the O2 Ritz in Manchester as the band teased them with a slow, stripped back intro of ‘Fire and the Flood’ before Vance (and his distinctive curls) bounded onto the stage all smiles.

He played a generous, varied set list including tracks ‘From Afar’ and ‘Mess is Mine’ from his debut album and multiple tracks from his new album, Nation of Two, including ‘Like Gold’, ‘Saturday Sun’ and an exclusive of ‘Alone With Me’ – a real treat for fans who got to see it live here for the first time on the tour. Vance also mixed things up with an unexpected cover of Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long’ and Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’, surprising fans all the while keeping to his definitive folk vibe.

He finished the evening at the Ritz with an encore of ukulele-led hit single, ‘Riptide’ – a track that’s had over 500 million Spotify streams and reached the top 10 in multiple countries across the globe.

Vance’s ability to create that sense of escapism within his music is incredible – you can close your eyes and immediately get lost within his inventive lyrics (Oh, all my friends are turning green, you’re the magician’s assistant in their dreams…) There’s just something that Vance Joy does incredibly well within his music that leaves us feeling like we’re in the happiest of places. Thank God for open mic nights.

Words by Sophie Eastham // @sophyvictoriae