Joy Formidable: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

This was one of those special nights, which are becoming increasingly more commonplace at Brudenell Social Club, where the support band were almost as exciting as the main act. A large crowd squeezed into the venue excited to witness Joy Formidable but before that they would be thoroughly entertained by Demob Happy.

Demob Happy disregarded their role as warm up act and instead proceeded to try and overheat the audience as they played their debut album “Dream Soda”, almost in its entirety. They combine a wide variety of influences as they pound their way through an impressive repertoire. It is evident that they want to get noticed for the quality and credibility of their music, not for broad accessibility as is the case with so many bands recently. A set comprised of perfectly structured peaks and troughs ended with the band thrashing their instruments and stumbling around, knocking over microphone stands and throwing their guitars down. They left the audience fully warmed up, each track got a great reception, and as they departed the stage they departed having gained more fans.

Just as the crowd began to settle down Joy Formidable bust onto the stage and kicked on from where Demob Happy left off. Despite rumours that she was ill lead singer and guitarist Ritzy came skipping onto the stage and her energy levels didn’t relent during the entire show. Joy Formidable have been away for a little while recording their latest album “Hitch” and they were definitely making up for lost time with a high energy set. Surprisingly they have never appeared at The Brude before despite many appearances in Leeds, Ritzy actually expressed that she was gutted when they heard that The Cockpit had closed down.

The whole band were giving it their all to give the paying public their money’s worth. Bassist Rhydian Dafydd Davies stomped around the stage between intermittent keyboard sections, but on the whole was happy to let Ritzy take the limelight. Drummer Matt Thomas seemed much more comfortable with the attention and provided a decent percentage of the whit between songs. His thunderous and frantic drum work seemed much more prominent than on the albums, and really added to the uplifting and driving nature of their set. As you might expect Ritzy was the star of the show despite her vocals seeming quite weak at times, possible because she actually was ill or possibly the fault of the sound engineer.

It was a set perfectly concocted from previous album hits and material from “Hitch”. New tracks “The Last Thing On My Mind” and “Running Hands With The Night” slotted between classics “This Ladder Is Ours”, “Austere” and “Maw Maw Song” without it seeming like a lull in proceedings. These tracks closed the set before the band returned for an even more riotous encore. It began from the incredibly high point of “The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade” and expanded from there. The encore concluded with a long drawn out rock and roll finish, which felt like they were just jamming and thoroughly enjoying themselves, before Ritzy launched her guitar across the stage.

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