Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance recently made a triumphant return to York on Thursday, performing to a packed crowd at Fibbers.
By Katie Manning
Opening for him was fellow Irishman, Ryan McMullen. Despite his youth, McMullen’s soulful voice easily cut through the excitable buzz of chatter. His rich voice was full of potential, with his songwriting skills so good that they have recently caught the attention of big industry names, such as Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody. He is one of the most exciting artists to come from Ireland in recent times, and with his confident performance, it was easy to see why.
Then Foy Vance took to the stage. He raised his drink, sat down at the piano, and began to play. The triumphant intro of Ziggy Looked Me in the Eye rang out, and Vance sang with a fire about revolution.
Mixed in with songs from the new album The Wild Swan, Vance brought out some old fan favourites, switching back and forth from guitar to piano, including the anthemic Closed Hand, Full of Friends, and You and I – a duet with Bonnie Raitt that highlights Vance’s beautiful falsetto, and brought out his inner showman as he goaded the audience to join in on the chorus. He also performed a heart-felt rendition of Moonshine in tribute to the late Chris Cornell.
The Wild Swan is a shining example of Vance’s songwriting talent; songs varied from the jailhouse rock vibes and bellowing double bass of Noam Chomsky is a Soft Revolution, to the signature guitar hook of She Burns, where Vance took a light-hearted moment to play up the ol’ country twang of the vocals, before adding the shimmering drums to build to a real show stopper. The energy continued as Upbeat, Feel Good did what its name promised, delivering a foot-stomping, head-bouncing jam.
Sat back at the piano, his most well-known track Guiding Light began to applause, with McMullen joining him to create a duet combining his raw talent, and Vance’s rough maturity. As they walked off, the audience continued to sing the chorus as an awe-inspiring tactic for the encore.
Foy returned with the marching drum Fire it Up, before coming to a close with the haunting The Wild Swans on the Lake, and as he stepped away from the mic to continue singing as he left, it sounded as though his captivating, story-telling voice was reciting an old folk song in the hills of Ireland.
Nothing quite compares to hearing Foy Vance’s whiskey-stained voice live. This is one for you if you want the beauty of raw talent, combined with the fun of a drunken night in a pub in Bangor.
Foy Vance played at Fibbers on Thursday 18 May 2017.