Walking into the front bar of Fitzroy’s Workers Club for Vance Joy’s set; everything appeared just as it should.

Clusters of people chatting quietly to each other while nursing Thursday night pints and slipping quietly into the weekend. Everything seems civilised and calm until attempting to make a left turn into the band room.

There is utter bedlam (albeit well behaved, Thursday night bedlam) as people frantically try and grab the attention of the door girl, pointing wildly at the list in her hands. In turn, the aforementioned door girl gestures politely at the SOLD OUT sign as she ticks off names.

Many content themselves with crowding around the door way outside, 20 or so craning their necks toward the stage as Melbourne artist Vance Joy begins to play a short but mesmerising set.

Having steadily cultivated a loyal following, the word appears to have gotten out that there is indeed something special about this kid. Squeezing into the room just in time to hear “From Afar”, even the bar staff are more preoccupied with watching the singer than actually serving any drinks.

Joy strums his guitar gently while he cocoons the room with his soaring vocals and when he is done, the entire crowd both inside and outside the room manage to free their hands in order to applaud loudly.

Declaring that it is time for a cover, Joy teases “the guy who usually does this song has a good dance and girls on stage” and for a moment one begins to pray that he too hasn’t fallen for the K-pop confection that is “Gangnam Style”.

Thankfully the cover belongs to none other than The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen and the singer nails all of the angst and frustration of “Dancing In The Dark”. A ballsy cover choice which pays off in spades and has one punter in particular howling like a wolf at its conclusion.

Introducing his next song “Snaggletooth”, Joy banters charmingly and almost shyly with the crowd. Curly haired and baby faced he could be any other young guy, that is until he sings. Joy can whisper and roar like Damien Rice, his carefree vocals instantly refreshing the blisteringly hot room. The audience hangs on every lyric and every last note.

Punters swelter away while shuffling from foot to foot in a bid to see more than an occasional glimpse of dark hair, a sporadic flash of guitar neck. A couple of people clamour up on to tables as Joy introduces his band before concluding with a laugh “I can play keyboard, guitar and harmonica. I’m a triple threat”.

The band breaks into “Play With Fire”, a catchy standout track that builds boisterously on its steady, folksy beat.

Bidding a simple farewell to a near salivating audience; “this is our last song… thanks so much”, there is an awed vibe within the crowd. It is as though all present have bore witness to something so real and so rare, a general feeling of watching an artist on the cusp of greatness; or at the very least at the beginning of a brilliant career.

There is an honesty to Joy’s work that is aching at times, yet playful at others. The dim red lighting and the venue, which looks like someone’s dad’s garage, seem to play up the youth of the singer but Joy’s voice has a maturity all of its own.

Vance Joy is worthy of any and all swirling buzz and will certainly be an interestin young artist to watch develop and grow.

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