Over the summer, Philly’s Radio 104.5 has been hosting its fair share of Summer Block Party concert events. The best part about these concerts is that they are all completely free. Although they are free, you must still go online and claim a ticket before they run out, which can be a pain and difficult to retrieve. That being said, the most recent Block Party was the first one I attended this summer, and it did not disappoint.
The concert took place at Festival Pier Aug. 20 in the 80-degree weather. The doors opened around 1 p.m., and local band The Groove Merchants started off the day on quite a pleasant note. After them, Australian indie pop band The Outdoor Type hit the stage showing Philly their inner folk roots, continuing the lively vibe of the afternoon.
By the time it was time for Judah & The Lion to take the stage, the audience had almost doubled in size. The experimental indie folk-pop trio straight out of Nashville brought the crowd’s energy to a high banging out some of their hits. Their biggest hit “Take It All Back 2.0” had everyone singing along, dancing and enjoying themselves to the fullest.
After this thrilling set finished, Portugal The Man had some large expectations to uphold, which they seemed to have no problem doing. They began the set with their first hit song “Purple Yellow Red & Blue” that automatically had the crowd buzzing and singing along happily. The next song, their most recent hit “Feel It Still,” was one of the best moments of the day by far. The audience was incredibly pumped to the point that they performed an extended version of it again to the end of their set.
One of my favorite things about Portugal The Man is how most of their songs seem to possess positive, cheerful vibes and focus on the concept of enjoying life. This idea was completely apparent in their performance, as the band did not fail to show how good of a time they were having themselves, and how they expected the crowd to be in the same boat.
Finally, it was time for the main act of the night to perform, which everyone had been waiting for: Vance Joy. Although Vance Joy’s sound is not as upbeat and danceable as the rest of the show’s lineup, the crowd was ecstatic once he took the stage and started his set with “Mess Is Mine.” Aside from this song, I felt that “Georgia” and “Fire and the Flood” were his strongest performances, as he had a special way of soulfully connecting with the audience which stood out.
His beautiful Aussie accent mixed with his stunning looks, emotionally-rich lyrics, and powerful vocals were enough to have everyone mesmerized in a heartbeat. His voice was so unbelievably impressive live that it sounded exactly how it does in the song recordings. He also played along on the guitar to every song, having them switched out to different ones every now and then. It wasn’t until he swapped his guitar for a ukulele that everyone went wild, knowing which song was coming next.
Seeing Vance Joy perform “Riptide” was one of those moments that you can only experience at a concert, that you’ll remember forever; feeling like you’re on top of the world with everyone singing along to every single word, swaying along and watching in awe. Overall, it was a phenomenal way to end a day full of extremely talent-filled performances.