The Joy Formidable @ Rough Trade East 12th July 2011

I jumped at the chance of seeing The Joy Formidable play at Rough Trade East. Just seeing one of your favourite bands play in such an intimate setting is something very special. Originally I had a ticket for another gig later in the evening and I was prepared to miss the support acts just so I could see Ritzy, Rhydian and Matt blast out songs from their debut full length album The Big Roar. What made this day even more special was the fact it was my birthday and I was going to see this amazing band play whom I have supported since they released A Balloon Called Moaning back in 2009. Due to the band not having anything physical released there were no wristbands needed for this event. It was pretty poor how there were no wristbands as this was going to be extremely popular. I arrived at the store at 2.30pm and started the queue at 5pm. If this was going to be first come first served I had to make sure I was there well before the doors. The band were also raffling off a chance for 10 people and their +1’s to have a curry with the band. With the fact I was dashing off once the instore had finished I therfore turned down the opportunity to get ticket #1. By the time doors did open the queue stretched to the car park. Now I don’t know how many people it can hold but I can imagine that the amount of people queuing was like when people queued for Record Store Day. The doors finally opened at 7pm and it was then a powerwalk to the front of the stage. People on the guest list got to go in before the people who were queuing. The set kicked off just before 7.15pm with a lovely intro which was then followed by followed by the bands newest single. “This is cosy, Isn’t this nice” Ritzy said to the packed out audience as soon as they had made their entrance onto the stage. A Heavy Abacus had only been released the day before. There was a full start as Ritzy’s guitar was out of tune. Now this song was extremely powerful and it oozed energy. Actually there were a few abacus’s which were on the stage. Once over it was then into the bands first ever single Austere. This song was a real crowd pleaser plus people were singing along to this heavy song. The atmosphere was simply electric. Once over there wasn’t time for much banter as they went into album track The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade. This song was extremely powerful and you could tell the band were putting every ounce of energy into the song. It was then onto Cradle which had been extended and it sounded incredible. Now this song is perfect from beginning to end and the lyrics are amazing.

“Are you alright, You’re very quiet” Ritzy then went onto say before mentioning about the raffle involving the curry with the band. It was then onto Bouy. This was a powerful song but during it’s alot gentler nearing the end. Plus at the end Ritzy was hitting this massive gone while Rhydian was thumping the drum. “Does it look like we take f*cking requests seriously” Ritzy said to the audience after many people had been shouting out songs. Rhydian then went onto say how they had been allocated 30 minutes and would love to play more. After there was some technical problems before the final song Ritzy started pulling out the raffle tickets from a Rough Trade Bag. So she picked out 10 numbers and one number she picked out was #1. So I could of had a curry with the band and I was slightly gutted as that would of been something special and memorable. But I was going to another gig so getting a ticket would of been a waste. If I knew Ritzy was going to pull out ticket #1 I would of changed my mind and spent my birthday having curry with The Joy Formidable and 20 other fans. Well you win some and you lose some. I can’t look back now as it has already happened.  “You’ve listened to my words long enough” Ritzy then said before wrapping the evening up with Whirring. This song capped of something truly magical. It oozed energy and the atmosphere from the crowd was amazing.


A Heavy Abacus
The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade

OVERALL: This evening was fantastic witnessing music that I really enjoy. The Joy Formidable aren’t your average Rock band there is an element of Indie to them as well. Once the night was over someone took the set list, guitar plec and a drumstick. I then began to wonder what could I take so I opted for an Abacus. Why an Abacus? Well with the current single being A Heavy Abacus this would of been the perfect reminder of the wonderful instore. I managed to get my album signed and then chatted to Ritzy and Rhydian outside. Ritzy did say they were going to sing happy birthday to me but forgot. So when I came back into the store I thought to myself I should of got the Abacus signed. So as soon at Ritzy came back inside I said I hope you don’t mind but I took an Abacus. I got Ritzy to sign it and she called it The Birthday Abacus (that’s its name from now on). When I had said goodbye to Ritzy it was then off to my next destination. Bring on HMV Forum this October.


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