The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable

Audio, 22 March 2010, with support from Baddies and Airship
“The imminent death of BBC 6 means you lot are more important than ever in the discovery and support of new music. It’s great that you guys are here tonight and please, keep coming out to shows like this one.”
If venues like Audio continue to host bills comprising the kind of high calibre, newly emerging talent that those in attendance this evening witness, neither Baddies vocalist Michael Webster or the music industry need worry about the demise of a quality underground music scene (despite the obvious implications the loss of such an influential station will cause). Opening the impressive showcase this evening is the quietly confident and musically accomplished Mancunian quartet Airship. Theirs is a sound that is varied; in places reminiscent of alternative rock act Pixies, in others the more delicate leanings of Radiohead with the finishing touch of a refreshing dose of experimentation in the form of epic, spacey breakdowns. Although only polite clapping greets the end of each song, all eyes of the – comparably – small crowd are fixated on Airship for the entire duration of their set indicating that they do realise that this band is definitely one to watch and those who arrived late missed something very special. Shame.
Fear not however because Essex staccato alt-poppers Baddies follow and instantly demonstrate why exactly there is such a buzz surrounding them by bursting straight into their second single, the punk-licked anthem ‘Holler For My Holiday’. Their set (and in fact, their entire debut album) is crammed with potential hits and it is in a live environment that thudding tracks like ‘Tiffany… I’m Sorry’ and ‘Colin’ sound best, with that extra percent of raw enthusiasm and energy that is often lost through post-production being evident tenfold. Baddies are a party band and it’d be a rare individual who wouldn’t want to move about – even dance – in the wake of their noise. The majority of the crowd this evening are stationary however. Like how stepping into unknown territory for the first time can make you feel somewhat uncomfortable but then with each subsequent visit, those anxieties settle, it is obvious those which gather for Baddies’ next appearance in Brighton will be excited and just damn jubilant. A great closing rendition of ‘We Beat Our Chests’ pretty much guarantees this. Fantastic stuff!
Audio is utterly rammed full by the time that tonight’s headliners The Joy Formidable hit the stage, reflecting the recent media hype surrounding the band. Akin to The Breeders but with the pop-sensibilities of The Primitives and injected with elements of shoegaze, the Welsh trio start off well with two catchy singles; the “ooo-ooh”-ing ‘Cradle’ and the candy-laced-pop hit ‘Austere’. Front woman Ritzy Bryan’s vocals have the canny ability to not only be sweeter than a Mars bar binge but be concurrently rinsed with a snarling undercurrent, making ‘The Last Drop’ and ‘The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade’ fascinating delights live. The energy does seem to taper off slightly halfway through The Joy Formidable’s set and this is perhaps due to the decision to place the majority of their most digestible and energetic  tracks at the start of their performance. Few people seem overly bothered by this however and are clearly just very happy to be witnessing the budding talent and potential that The Joy Formidable are regularly – and rightly – commended for. This is further confirmed by the successful cries for an encore at the end; a great finish to the evenings events.
The Baddies

What did you think of the gig?
Michael (Baddies’ vocalist and guitarist): 8/10 “Tonight was very cool, though I feel that I have performed better at previous shows. It’s been really nice meeting all the Brighton fans, I feel we’re building a solid following here!”
Anna: 8/10 “I really enjoyed the support acts. I can’t believe that Airship aren’t more well known as they’re very tight musically.”
“We’re collectively known as ZEFSIDE. We give a rating of ZEF/10, which is at least equal to, but probably more than 10! Tonight was awesome!”

Words and photography by Kat Cole

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