ACL Fest 2015: 90 Million views? Yeah, they’re working for Vance Joy

Vance Joy performs on the Homeaway stage at Austin City Limits Music Festival. Suzanne Cordeiro for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Vance Joy performs on the Homeaway stage at Austin City Limits Music Festival. Suzanne Cordeiro for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Were there this many people here to watch Vance Joy last weekend?

So much for counter-programming. This was by far the biggest assembly at the Home Away stage I’d seen all weekend, with the exception of Hozier, and then they’re about tied. Was it a quirk or the schedule? Or does the folky pop of this Australian singer songwriter have this many fans?

A bit of both, maybe.

Vance has a certain appeal: his voice is solid, and his plainspoken emotional lyrics definitely speak to the college crowd. His video for “Riptide” has 90 million views and he’s been opening on tour for Taylor Swift. So there’s that.

But the outer ring of the crowd—which was bleeding, amazingly, into the Samsung stage—was just using it as background music. They were here to chill and chat—folks who had heard Vance Joy on the radio or online, but haven’t heard of indie poet Kurt Vile or Chance The Rapper, who were busy playing on competing stages.

Sometimes Vance Joy’s music is so straightforward it’s annoying even as harmless pop, like when he bellows out a heartfelt chorus, “allll I really wanted/was time,” ten times.

That’s when it’s time to bail on the YouTube show and go watch Chance the Rapper and his brass band sing “Cocoa Butter Kisses.”


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