Review: Vance Joy live at Splendour XR

Live from Barcelona, Vance Joy delivers an intimate and glowing performance 

Review: Vance Joy live at Splendour XR

Vance Joy is one of Australia's most precious exports, a talented singer and musician who writes with a heart-spilling amount of truth and wows audiences around the world. Due to Covid-19, Splendour XR went ahead remotely in 2021, so Vance’s set is available online, which means those of you with accessibility needs or others who are waiting for festival season can still enjoy live music at home.

Opening with ‘Mess Is Mine’ on the rooftop of Palau Güell in Barcelona, this stripped-back performance is the ultimate relaxation show. Mellow tunes and silky smooth vocals capture an undying warmth from start to finish. ‘Mess is Mine’ is the perfect opener as Vance manages to create a powerful performance despite the lack of a band, and his vocal ability shines through the speakers. Boasting catchy guitar riffs throughout, ‘We’re Going Home’ adds a sing-along spirit to a show with no audience. No mean feat.

The stunning sunset backdrop allows for the ultimate immersive experience from your living room as Vance Joy’s compelling vocals wash over you like a tidal wave of sheer comfort. The gentle strumming of the guitar allows the show to feel super intimate and personal – like you're connected in some way regardless of not being there in person. ‘Missing Piece’ is where the tempo starts to ramp up. It's an energetic and loving pop song that oozes soul and truthfulness. It feels like an incredibly spiritual experience packed with romance and nostalgia that adds a certain safety to the environment.

What's important to note is how at ease Vance is with a guitar, it's an incredible skill to be able to make a performance so captivating with just a guitar and a mic stand, but somehow you don't want to turn your attention away from the screen – not even for a second. The setup really makes this show. Its simplicity, with the element of closeness and stunning scenery, allows the songs to speak for themselves without smoke and mirrors, all while the vocals remain in their purest form. ‘Only You’ introduces a new depth by including a saxophonist, adding a new layer to the show sonically, peaking interest and enjoyment in an unusually bare performance.

Continuing with the saxophonist and moving to a different section of the rooftop, ‘Fire And The Flood’ layers nostalgic love stories with an evening on the beach feel. The saxophone helps to elevate the track, adding a fullness that the previous tracks didn't hold. This in turn creates a dancing infectious rhythm. 

Vance closes the show with his biggest hit ‘Riptide’, and its now-familiar joyous melody ties the show up incredibly well. Online shows can be incredibly hit and miss, some manage to be entertaining whilst others just fail to be captivating. Although there was no band or audience to work off, Vance Joy still managed to be engrossing and thrived off the intimacy, meaning as a viewer you felt part of the experience as a whole.

Header Image Credit: Screenshot from Youtube


Faith Martin

Faith Martin Kickstart

Faith worked as a freelance journalist for a year after finishing her studies at Portsmouth College, writing for a number of esteemed publications as well as running her own music blog before joining Voice Magazine as a Kickstart Trainee Journalist. An avid vinyl collector and gig-goer, Faith also campaigns for disability rights and better disabled access at live music events.

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