Welsh alternative rockers The Joy Formidable delighted an attentive audience at Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms, delivering a top night of rough and ready tunes.

Following the pre-amble of support act Demob Happy, a cacophony of guitar riffs and booming beats, the main act finally arrived, dazzling with the wall of sound they cooked up, beginning with the synth tones of ‘The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade’, a rampant, intense beast of a tune; a confident way to start any show.

The tightly-knit trio blitzed a mostly middle-aged male crowd with incredible drumming from Matt Thomas (whose facial expressions verged on the ridiculous at times), the raw, yet powerful vocals and talent of lead singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan, with bassist Rhiddian Daffyd supplying backing vocals and harmonies, interchanging with Bryan. 

It was a perfect concoction of sound, that resulted in plenty of indulgent, satisfying jams from all members and some intense on-stage dance-offs. 

When you throw in a pulsating lightshow in the crammed set-up the Rescue Rooms provides, it was a melting pot of madness. Sure the crowd could’ve been slightly more energetic, but for a Tuesday night, there was still enough of a party.

Drawing upon three albums worth of bonafide tunes, with plenty of psychedelic breaks in-between involving tales of Nottingham mischief the last time the trio were in town, it was a night that had it all. When the sombre ‘Wolf’s Law’– an album track from the album of the same name – kicked off with its delicate piano tinkling before building and building to an almighty crescendo, it was clear to everyone in the room something special was happening.

That palpable sense of special was continued into the barrage of sound that was ‘The Leopard and the Lung’. Daffyd’s vocals got more of an airing here and complimented Bryan’s to a tee. Thomas’ drumming again powers the whole band’s source of electricity; his playing style is so absorbing and watchable, you honestly don’t know who to watch the most out of the three band members.

Before arriving back for a storming three-song encore, the band finished their set with a rampaging version of the most well-known of their tunes, ‘Whirring’. Its initial few chords provoked ruptures of applause, and aside from a dropped riff, an intermittent blackspot, the band recovered well, due to Thomas’ good-humoured nature, before promptly destroying his drum kit! The band promptly said their third or fourth thank-yous and wished us well before departing for their dressing rooms.

It was a fitting end to a riotous evening that left a bubbling crowd to leave the Rescue Rooms, ears buzzing, faces beaming: it was clear the Joy Formidable had conquered Nottingham once again.

This Joy Formidable review was written by Conor Davies, a Gigsoup contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard. Photo credit : zahrastark

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