Vance Joy’s inner awkward comes out during Stubbs performance

Andrea Guzman

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Australian singer and songwriter Vance Joy, whose real name is James Keogh, played for two nights in a row at Stubbs BBQ. The concerts, which were a part of his “Fire and the Flood” tour on March 8 and 9, both sold out — and rightfully so.

Though Joy’s performance at this past year’s Austin City Limits Festival was nothing less than noteworthy, this time the musician appeared to an even more welcoming audience. Despite rainy weather conditions, dedicated fans flooded the outdoor venue just for the opportunity to see him live.

Other performers included Jamie Lawson and Elle King. While King got the crowd energized with her upbeat tunes and tribute to the late producer for the Beatles, George Martin, Lawson put on a slow and melodic performance that was pleasing at times but rather dull for most of the set.

A different and less widely known artist than Taylor Swift, whom he opened for during her “1989” tour, Vance Joy has proven to be an artist on the rise with a uniquely calm and folksy sound varying from the pop star Swift but fairly similar in terms of musical talent.

When Joy began singing “Wasted Time,” the opening lyrics of “I was born on a Saturday” made the entire crowd grateful that he was so they could be treated to his soothing voice.

Not only is Joy’s voice incredible, but his masterful skills on the guitar and ukulele also made for an excellent set.

Closing with a rendition of the summer hit “Cheerleader,” Joy left the audience wanting more and later delivered a two-song encore.

While a cover song served somewhat as the peak of his performance, Joy would have been better off playing a few of his own songs that did not make the cut for the setlist, such as “Snaggletooth” or “Great Summer,” that could have served to recreate the intimate concert feeling that was evident during his equally quieter songs like “Emmylou.”

This would have made up for the weak audience connection Joy maintained by being unresponsive to cheers and praise as well as telling the same stories of where he got ideas for his songs that he told at Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Afterwards, however, Joy successfully connected with his fans in the meet and greet, attended by a select few. On top of that, Joy maintained that image by also making an appearance at the KGSR 93.3 FM station during the day on March 9.

So, though Joy lacks a certain charisma live through lack of audience interaction, he still maintains their interest through his sheer talent as a lyricist and musician and could draw equally large crowds again if he is booked for a show in Austin in the future.