On Monday at 6 p.m., Vance Joy — in partnership with the AMS and Peak radio — put on a 16-minute “surprise” concert in the plaza. It was exactly what you would expect from a slightly ramshackle, hasty outdoor concert announced on Peak two hours in advance. Nonetheless, it was a charming comeback from a singer-songwriter who released his last album, Dream Your Life Away, in 2014.
Vance Joy took the stage (on time!) to an enthusiastic response.
A simple “Hey, guys” in his good-natured Australian accent got another round of excited cheering. Without any other preamble, he started with 2014’s “Mess is Mine.” The vocals were a little sharp at first, with nothing but a low-quality mic shielding them from the crowd, but as he became visibly more relaxed so did the set.
“I didn’t expect such an amazing crowd,” he admitted as more students flocked over.
Right at the onset of his second song, “Fire in the Flood,” his guitar died, but he moved on with surprising fluidity and abandoned the instrument to belt out the beginning of the song to the crowd. Students picked up on the mishap quickly and sang and clapped along — it ended up being a standout moment in the performance and created a connection between artist and crowd.
The guitar work was a standout, lending a much-appreciated intimate quality to the student show, but as he moved into “Lay it On Me,” it still didn’t do much for the repetitiveness of the sound.
His final song of the set, “Riptide,” got an enthusiastic crowd response (who wasn’t obsessed with this at one point?) but didn’t carry the same punch as it does when streamed online.
After only 16 minutes — hey, you get what you don’t pay for — Vance Joy sheepishly waved goodbye, thanked the crowd and departed quickly. Fans will see him again this Wednesday night at the Vogue Theatre.