The Joy Formidable @ The Crocodile Cafe 04.12.11

April 13, 2011

Taking the stage, The Joy Formidable emit an enormous sound for a three piece, arranged onstage oddly in a line rather than the typical drummer flanked by guitars fashion. Another curiosity comes in the from the absence of amps, giving the band space to swim the stage amidst their huge sound. Playing amazingly tight for a freshman act, singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan's energy shines through both in her commanding stage presence and spot on guitar playing. British ties aside, it's tough not to compare them to Muse both in musicianship and Precision. Though it's a definite -1 when they launch into the synth lead of "The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade" with no keyboard in site, instilling doubts of authenticity and planting the question of backing tracks in your mind, however true or not true that theory may be. Heavy guitars give way to pop melodies as Ritzy's voice soars over the wall of sound.

The packed room is an older crowd comprised almost entirely of 30+, perhaps insinuating the band might have found great success in the late 90s, though as clearly implied but the SOLD OUT sign on the doors of the Croc they certainly aren't hurting in this day and age either. For those unfamiliar with tracks outside of Whirring it's easy to describe the band as a female fronted extension of Silversun Pickups. Slightly more sprawling, taking their nuances to further extremes, making the heavier elements heavier and the quite quieter. A band thriving on dynamics, clearly influenced by the likes of 90s masters The Smashing Pumpkins meshed with the post 2000 simplicity of indie rock.

In a nutshell it's safe to say that anyone's expectations entering the show were met if not exceeded by the bands brilliant form and masterful execution of their songs (even if at times that execution felt a bit more calculate than organic) If you didn't make it out cross your fingers they make it back soon, because this is a band worth seeing.