Vance Joy establishes himself beyond ‘Riptide’ in chipper Outside Lands set

Saturday | Sutro Stage

Vance Joy plays guitar at Outside Lands
Daniel Kim/Senior Staff

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Everybody knows “Riptide” — the A-minor to G to C ukulele chord progression, the relatable fears listed in the opening lyrics: “I was scared of dentists and the dark / I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations” and the place in the song right after those lyrics, when the kick drum takes up that even thumping you can’t help but dance along to. It’s hard not to love it — evidenced by the song’s more than 500 million listens on Spotify.

So naturally, much of the crowd was excited for Vance Joy, if only for that song. Some in the crowd left partway through his performance, when they realized he was saving it for the end of his set. But those who stuck around were graced with an hour of joyous bops.

Notably, Vance’s performance of his latest single “Lay It On Me,” was compellingly danceable — balancing the right number of repeated “Lay it all on me now” singalongs with a strong trumpet line (is there any song that brass can’t make better?) and an innate clap-ability.

The exceedingly happy response from the audience must have surprised Vance, because in the middle of the choruses, he’d often step back from the mic to glance back at his band and grin; turning back to the crowd, he’d give a small laugh of incredulousness at the thousands of dancing bodies.

Between songs, Vance paused to explain what each one was about, giving a sentence-long recap of the song’s plot — this one is about a guy traveling across the country to tell a girl how he feels about her; this one is about losing a great love.

He had a comment for practically every single song. That is, every one except “Riptide” — nobody needed an introduction to that one.

Olivia Jerram covers music. Contact her at [email protected].