Foy Vance at the Hammersmith Apollo
Folk singer-songwriter Foy Vance continues the European leg of his tour with an evening of ballads at the Hammersmith Apollo. The Irish vocalist, who is signed onto Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man label, performs tracks from debut album Hope (marking its 15-year anniversary) along with songs from Signs of Life.
Acoustic-electric opener Treading the Water is a beautiful melody that builds into a crescendo, showcasing Vance’s signature style. Things get livelier with Hope, Peace and Love, an early highlight, where a guitar loop is incorporated, Vance playing the drums and simultaneously singing, displaying his talents as a multi-instrumentalist. The evening’s guests also include The Late Heavy and Gareth Dunlop, who join the singer for Signs of Life, taken from the 2021 eponymous studio album.
The stage is simple tonight, with two long beams on either side that change colour intermittently while sticks of incense burn on the piano. Roman Attack is reminiscent of acts such as The War on Drugs and early Bruce Springsteen. Disappointingly though, all Vance’s chat is lost within the walls of the Apollo, but, despite the indiscernible anecdotes, the music manages to remain clear.
Captivated is not a word that comes to mind regarding this show; glancing at the faces, it is clear a lot of the crowd are unmoved and even bored. This changes considerably when surprise guest Rag ‘n’ Bone Man appears on-stage, and there is a definite shift in the stalls and overall atmosphere. Performing a duet of Sapling, Vance at the piano again, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man reminds the audience of his memorable baritone. She Burns is another highlight, a favourite song with many fans, and one that resounds gorgeously in the auditorium.
On the whole, the effect would have been better if Vance had faced the audience at the piano so that he could have been seen. Tonight’s performance is not as engaging as one would hope but it had the potential to be. These are good songs, but a lot of the tunes blend and leave more to be desired.
The encore includes Indiscriminate Act of Kindness and Guiding Light, which would befit a honky-tonk bar – unsurprising, given a lot of Vance’s music echoes Americana. If only the preceding show had not been so tame.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Foy Vance’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Sapling here: