It’s been a great year to be a Foy Vance fan. He released his incredible new album The Wild Swan earlier in the year after signing to his dear friend Ed Sheeran’s record label Gingerbread Man Records. His track ‘Coco’ has been getting heavy airplay on BBC Radio 2 and the music video for ‘She Burns’ featuring Lucy Hale of Pretty Little Liars fame has been getting a fair bit of attention too. 2016 also saw him gathering new fans performing in front of ever larger crowds supporting the one and only Elton John on tour. Even though I have seen him live twice already I naturally leapt at the chance to see Foy in action in Leeds as part of his Wild Swan world tour.
Having settled in for the opening act Ryan McMullan, it soon became apparent that we were being serenaded by Foy’s young apprentice. His incredible vocals, his lyrical style and even his easy-going rapport with the audience bore more than a few of the hallmarks of the man himself. Let’s not however get caught up in comparisons as Ryan is clearly an immensely talented singer/songwriter in his own right. On tracks such as ‘A Winter’s Coat’ and ‘Holding Me Down’ he showed that he is a great artist in the making. If every performance he has given along the way has been as spellbinding as his set in Leeds then it won’t be long until he’ll be setting out on his own sold out tour.
When I had seen Foy live before it had been a special one-off intimate evening, and as this was just another stop on a lengthy tour I had expected it to be a fairly routine affair. Instead Foy made the night feel special, made it feel like a once in a lifetime experience. The first tell-tale sign that we were in for a treat was when he began performing the slow blues of ‘Pain Never Hurt Me Like Love’, and old fan favourite that has never been granted a studio version, a song which I thought I would never hear live. It was a similar story with Foy performing ‘Like An Animal’ with the full force of the band behind him and treating us to a few verses of ‘Hallelujah’ in memory of Leonard Cohen. For all these reasons and more the night felt like an important and unique event where we were the guests of honour.
He kept us all on our toes with his witty banter surrounding such topics as Donald Trump and his own email correspondence with Noam Chomsky, in between delighting us all with the finer points of The Wild Swan and his stellar 2013 album Joy Of Nothing. The crowd was certainly in a singing mood and after he had finished performing ‘Guiding Light’, with Ryan returning to sing with him, we could have all carried on well into the early hours if he hadn’t emerged for his encore and gave us the news that he and his other half have a baby on the way. It should be apparent by now that I hold Foy Vance in very high regard, but even given these high standards he never fails to surprise and impress me. If you ever get the chance to see him live I implore you to do so and join the family.