Vance Joy‘s return to Ottawa on Saturday was one to remember, despite bad conditions beginning the night at CityFolk.
Joy, an Australian singer-songwriter, began his set to a soaked crowd with the song “Mess is Mine”. The popular track had everyone singing from the beginning. At one point he sang a lyrics with the word “rain”, emphasizing it to the laughter of the audience and showing a nice sense of humour.
“Get Out While You Can” following “Mess is Mine” offered well-timed lights to drops in the lyrics, red and blue lights fading out to darkness.
“The vibe is seriously good here tonight!” Joy said, smiling while playing to cheers from the audience.
The rain stopped after just two songs to the delight of the band and audience.
One of the highlights of the night was Joy’s story-telling ability, along with his impressive singing voice and instrumentation. He spoke about his mother helping him write “Winds of Change” and various love interests that had come and gone from his life during others.
Joy played both acoustic guitar and ukulele along with band members who also showed impressive musicianship, some playing trumpet and saxophone and switching to electric guitar and bass. A keyboardist also offered some impressive playing abilities.
Song highlights of the night included songs “Play With Fire”, “My Kind of Man”, “Georgia” and “Riptide”. Joy offered a funny anecdote before “My Kind of Man”, saying his dad thought he was stealing lyrics and it turned out he had ripped the chorus of a song accidentally.
Despite the mostly slow tunes, Joy kept the audience dancing and laughing through the entire set. Halfway through the set Joy sang a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” that excited some audience members, who screamed in delight.
“Riptide”, one of his most recognizable songs to date, featured audience singing during the chorus and massive cheers. Joy smiled as he let the audience take over for a short time, and his band mates also seemed to enjoy the interlude.
Joy surprised the audience by continuing on with a cover of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al”. The song at times bled into last summer’s hit song “Cheerleader” by Omi, which the audience enthusiastically sang along with.