Concert Review: Vance Joy at Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, MN – November 10, 2014

Photography and review by Joe Stadele for TWTHS, November 13, 2014

Vance Joy has had quite a year.  With a strong debut album, Dream Your Life Away, one of the funnest, tongue-in-cheek videos of 2014 (“Riptide”), and not to mention endless touring — Joy is swiftly garnering attention.  And thanks to the biggest artist of the 2014, Joy is on the verge of mass exposure as opener of Taylor Swift’s 2015 World Tour.  And too add, he braved the first winter storm of 2014 to perform to a sold out audience at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis.

Vance Joe ©JoeStadelePhotography (4)Joy and his band sounded great live, but had to work to cut through the audible clutter of a rather talkative audience.  Joy marched in place with the aid of his acoustic guitar and trusty ukulele.  Joy worked the first half of the set, bouncing between new tracks from his debut and older friends.  “Emmylou” was a solid opener but the show really didn’t take steam until Joy switched to his ukulele for the upbeat “Play With Fire.”

Standing centerstage under a spotlight, Joy’s band took a midset break as the songwriter shared the comical story behind “My Kind Of Man.”  Joy built the song around a profound post his uncle had made on Facebook.  Feeling good about the song, he decided to play the song for his father and was quickly informed the lyrics were ripped right from a Lynryd Skynyrd song.  Despite his smirking disappointment, he decided to forge ahead and make the song his own.

Joy closed the show on a strong note as confetti/glitter surged from the rafters for a rather Hawaiian-feeling “Riptide” and a celebratory “Mess Is Mine.”

Jaymes Young ©JoeStadelePhotography (11)Supporting Vance Joy, promising up-and-comer Jaymes Young displayed a soulful voice and a knack for catchy songwriting.  His guitar-driven songs were had a dance sensibility; the standout being “Two More Minutes.”  Young also performed a cover of John Mayer’s “I Don’t Trust Myself,” which led to the realization that Mayer is now being considered an influence on a younger generation.

Fans who were able to catch Joy on his current tour can enjoy a humble man performing during the calm before the storm.  Jumping from opening stints at the Turf Club and Triple Rock, to headlining Varsity, and soon to open for Taylor Swift at the Target Center in 2015 will surly open all new doors for budding performer.

Catch Vance Joy on tour, dates here.

Vance Joy’s Setlist
Red Eye
Play With Fire
Winds Of Change
My Kind If Man
From Afar
Wasted Time
Best That I Can
Mess Is Mine

Jaymes Young’s Setlist
Habits Of My Heart
I Don’t Trust Myself [John Mayer cover]
Dark Star
I’ll Be Good
Two More Minutes

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