Gig review: Foy Vance at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Foy Vance
Foy Vance
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I recently watched a video debating the concept of ‘beyond words’. After experiencing Foy Vance’s show on Saturday night, never more has that idea been so apparent.

We were taken deep. The outstanding voice of Ryan McMullan unlocked the door to a night spent feeling every heartbeat of ‘Bangor Town, County Down’ songwriting from right within its core.

Foy and his trio of backing moustaches (they weren’t bad musicians either) treated us to a musical experience vaster in emotion than anything I have encountered before. Mid-song anecdotes that entwined themselves beautifully into the message of the music rose into choruses that, if it wasn’t for the uncontrollable moments of breathlessness I would have been whole heartedly joining in with.

All night the room resonated with an overwhelming sense of togetherness. Being a musician myself I thought I understood the power of music but this was a show so emotionally exhausting that my previous understanding can now only sit quietly, looking up at me almost apologetically at its misjudgement.

The last song took shape on top of a humming bed of audience vocal and on reaching the final line of ‘The Wild Swan’, Foy Vance stood at the back of the stage and raised his glass, no further words, just a look. The look of a man who deserves to feel as good as any human being can, having taken his ability in making us all ready to really hear what he has to say and turning it into a vehicle upon which people can travel to the highest peaks of human emotional existence.

Every good gig should remind you what music is about. On Saturday night we had the privilege of going further as we were reminded what life is about. Put so thoughtfully by Foy himself, ‘it really is a genuine honour to be here’.

Spiral Stairs. Picture: Steven Simko

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