Vance Joy, Airling, #1 Dads - Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Written by Elisa Parry

Vance Joy, Airling, #1 Dads - Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Vance Joy clearly comes from a traditional school of songwriting – crafting life’s simple truths into simple melodies that hold universal appeal. A quick glance around the room reveals everything from man buns to grey buns, even a few flower headbands happy to have one last hurrah before the festival season comes to a close.

The dance floor is almost full as Airling takes to the stage. Her ethereal vocals and dreamscape beats off her Love Gracefully EP provide the perfect soundtrack to herald in the weekend. She’s followed by a polished set from #1 Dads, fresh from their impeccable Like A Version of FKA twigs’ Two Weeks, with highlights including My Rush, So Soldier (featuring Airling) and a killer sax solo on Camberwell.

As Vance Joy (James Keogh) kicks things off with From Afar the Enmore is well and truly at capacity and spirits are high. He follows with Red Eye and Winds of Change – which he admits, “was the first song to pass the Mum and Dad test” i.e. deemed good enough to play at his first open mic night (good call Mr and Mrs Joy). Wasted Time gets the feet stomping and Mess is Mine sees girls on shoulders and the festival-sway in full swing.

The band head off stage, and we’re left with just Vance, his guitar and a stripped back cover of Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark, showcasing his incredible vocal talent. All I Ever Wanted and My Kind of Man inspire campfire-esque level sing-alongs before the band return for his current hit single Georgia.

The welcome addition of a horn section on Emmy Lou and Best That I Can, have the floorboards of the Enmore pulling their trampoline trick as the foot-stomp-hand-clap combo makes a comeback.

At the first sighting of the ukulele the collective s**t is lost. He rounds up the night with Riptide and an encore of Play With Fire, before inviting Airling and #1 Dads back for an epic rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain – the man sure can pick a cover.

There’s no fuss or pretention, his raw talent and genuine humility are responsible for the success of his debut album Dream Your Life Away. And the true joy (yep, I went there) of it is that with just one album under his belt, this is all still just the beginning for James Keogh.


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