Review: Foy Vance at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Foy Vance.
Foy Vance.
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Apparently Foy Vance received a text before coming on stage that put him in a bad mood, and for the first couple of songs he is noticeably grouchy.

But that’s not to say Vance is humorless – just rather bleak. After telling a joke about long jail sentences, he tells us: ‘And here’s a song about my divorce...’

As the gig goes on, Vance lightens up, engaging in plenty of banter with the crowd.

Performing as a four-piece with a backing band, the music is mostly slow-burning rock, with Vance’s voice often reminiscent of his fellow country-man Van Morrison.

Songs typically cover the bases of sex, love and religion, with plenty of self-lacerating – but also somehow, uplifting – lyrics.

And he’s fond of slipping into some unusual covers – the audience is chided for refusing to take his uncannily spot-on take on The Crash Test Dummies’ Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm seriously. There’s also a burst of Bruno Mars’ Locked Out Of Heaven, ‘A song you know you shouldn’t like, but it’s just too good.’

Curiously, the most affecting moment of the night comes courtesy of a performance that has Vance orchestrating the audience in a mostly a capella Shed A Little Light. When Vance praises the crowd for being in good voice at the end, it seems genuine enough.