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LIVE! – The Joy Formidable

October 19, 2010 by  

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LIVE! – The Joy Formidable

ARTIST: The Joy Formidable
SUPPORT: Wilder, Flats, Chapel Club
VENUE, TOWN: Koko Club, London
DATE: 14th October 2010

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MAIN REVIEW: Thanks to the privatisation of the London tube network, from my perspective the youthful, drain-pipe favouring Flats are the first to bound onto stage (sorry Wilder), their front man sporting a cap bearing the legend ‘I Am The Greatest’; a bold statement which would shortly prove to be a deception. He sets the tone by very angrily leaping about the stage and growling incomprehensibly into the mike before hurling it repeatedly to the floor in a fit of artistic pique. It is all very exciting and definitely rock and roll, something perfectly encapsulated in a completely non-sardonic way by a nearby audience member: ‘Well the toys are out the fuckin’ pram now, ain’t they?’

Rock. And. Roll.

Follow-up act Chapel Club are a world apart favouring a very understated and comparatively soothing indy pop. The only problem is their sound has a bit of a drone to it, so they sort of become a background buzz, which is okay as it helps pass the time a bit more pleasantly.

Finally the screen rolls back a final time to reveal a stage decked in clusters of glowing spheres like the eggs of some bizarre abyss dwelling fish. It’s Formidable time.

The band have a fantastic stage presence from the get-go, mainly thanks to lead singer Ritzy Bryan’s almost terrifying mad-eyed stare, alternately eyeballing the audience and sharing an infectious impish smile with them. It’s a sincere and energetic performance, with firm fan favourites like ‘Austere’ are slammed out alongside more esoteric faire like holiday number ‘My Beerdrunk Soul is Sadder than a Hundred Dead Christmas Trees’. As a special treat they showcase a bit of the new material they’re working on in preparation for February and receive reinforcements for a duet from none other than Paul Draper from the Mansuns. Unexpected. Pick of the bunch probably goes to ‘Whirring’, which featured an excellent extended intro with some very handsome guitar work.

One thing that’s completely obvious: the crowd are absolutely in love with them – something Bryan plays up to new heights, hopping down into the stands to high five fans and let them ruffle her hair; it’s a very communal experience; both sides are giving everything they’ve got. After such a stonking main performance to end on anything but the highest of notes would be unthinkable and they manage it with a crunching furious rendition of ‘Cradle’, spitting out the verses like accusations at a witch trial and sending the hall to fever pitch. With the last notes ringing away all that’s left to do is to gently spin off into the night.

Final Score: Big Success.





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