Show Pics: The Joy Formidable @ Emo’s (5/1)

The Joy Formidable was very impressive in their set at the Nikon Warner Sound showcase at Belmont during SxSW. Ritzy is a manic powerhouse and the entire band, including drummer Matthew James Thomas by way of his frontline half open drum kit, so everything possible to connect with the crowd. Big strobes, jumping into the pit, TJF is always encouraging the crowd to come along with them.

IO ECHO was the opener at Emo’s, and quite honestly, the more interesting act on the night. New to big touring, they get to play some decent-sized venues while rolling with TJF and hopefully will pull a decent early crowd. Backlit shenanigans.

Ritzy got a new hat. Click through for the pics, y’all.

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Show Preview: The Joy Formidable @ Emo’s (4/30)

Date 4/30
Location Emo’s
Doors 7:00
Tickets $16.00

Since SxSW’s exit, we have already seen a few bands that played the conference come back through town. Tuesday’s show at Emo’s features two grads of 2013. The Joy Formidable put down a blistering set at the Nikon Warner Sound showcase, I mean nailed down. IO Echo showed the harder edge that comes from the live setting, but the quick-turn venues and makeshift staging never allowed for a real run at how they want to convey their songs. The big stage can give them the room to breathe.

If you like live music, and since you are reading this you do, join me won’t you? I’ll the guy up front taking pic, say hi. Here is a sample from IO Echo as you better be familiar with Ritzy and the boys…

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SxSW: The Flaming Lips @ The Belmont

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Flaming Lips.

…and Guards, Surfer Blood, Atlas Genius, Frightened Rabbit, The Joy Formidable, and Alt-J.

I told you all last year that I pick at least one night per SxSW to camp at a bigger venue. Last year, it was The Belmont for Jesus and Mary Chain. This year, same venue for The Flaming Lips. Other than a weird unannounced show, when would I get any where near this close to Wayne and the boys? …save for holding up the plastic ball thing as Wayne walks out over an audience. Add to that several bands on the rise or with a prize, some I have seen before, some new to me, and one that I was massively apathetic towards. What did I discover? Read.

Oh and a massive shit ton of photos to go with everything…

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The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar

Rating: ★★★★☆

Coming off of an eventful SxSW, the Joy Formidable is trying to carry momentum into the year and the summer festival season by bringing their powerhouse live show to new audiences.  Their latest release, The Big Roar, is one helluvan album to tour behind.

It starts with an epic 7 minute long track that builds to crescendo and serves as a warning that the trio means business. “The Magnifying Glass” starts with some odd samples, feedback and random banging.  I love it, it sorts out into awesome understated verses and transitions to power choruses that I love about this band. Just to keep the averages proper, the next track is short and sweet; “The Magnifying Glass” is all of 2:19 long.

Track three is a personal favorite, “I Don’t Want To See You Like This”. Ritzy Brian has the job of providing the haunting back vocals during the loud moments that creates tenderness in noise.  The following track is likely the most recognizable and popular track; it is the first of four that appear on A Balloon Called Moaning. “Austere” starts with the falsetto cries of Ritzy and transitions for a level of disorder to power chord bliss.  One of their best live tunes, loved it all the way.

“A Heavy Abacus” is a “slow track”, evolving without being a jam song and a bit noisy at times with a clean finish.  I am a bit curious why the Abacus is watching her. “Whirring” is the next of the Balloon tracks and again, you should recognize it immediately if you know of this band. “Buoy” has a very cool climbing and descending chord structure that draws you in and bridges the first verses beautifully.  Again, a bit of a slower tempo to this new track, but not any weaker, light breaks, heavy drum track finish, *chirp*…

“Maruyama” serves as an intermission before another old-new song called “Cradle”.  “I can see he says what he means, We’ll deal him sticks and stones and apologies, I wish…it was through”. “My vicious tongue cradles just one”.  Love it.

“Llaw=Wall” is the departure track.  Rhydian Dafydd sings lead on this one, nary a guitar for the first half until the track erupts.  “Chapter 2” returns to a more punk progresson and Ritzy belting over bass lines and a strong drumming from Matt Thomas.

To close things out is the final track from the previous release and if you don’t love “The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Love”, I don’t even know you anymore.

The Big Roar is an interesting mix of the best tracks from “A Balloon Called Moaning” and new material that is more complex in some ways, a complete departure in others.  Being a best of old and new, it should to be limited to a 3.5 IMHO, but the recent sets at SxSW push it to the 4 star status.

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