The Joy Formidable @ HMV Forum 14th October 2011

The Joy Formidable have progressed alot since the first time I saw them play The Borderline in 2009. Three years later they have made it big in the States (appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman and appearing on the new Twilight Soundtrack) plus they have embarked on a October UK tour. This date at the HMV Apollo would be the biggest crowd that they have played to. I arrived outside the venue at 3pm and the majority of people turned up a hour before the doors opened. The ticket said they opened at 7pm but actually they opened 15 minutes earlier. In a way this was good as it was bitterly cold outside and inside it was warmer. Support was provided by Creatures Of Love, The Dig plus And So I Watch You From Afar. Out of the support acts Creatures Of Love were to my liking but the continous use of strobe lighting did make me turn away.

Coming onto the stage around 9.20pm were The Joy Formidable and what an epic night it was. The set design was amazing there was The Joy Formidable banner in the background plus other props such as a lighthouse, ship’s wheel, bell and the gong whih Ritzy likes to hit. The set kicked off with the bands last single and this being A Heavy Abacus. This song oozed plenty of energy and was powerful at the same time. The song was delivered to perfection and the lyrics were fantastic and infectious at the same time. The Magnifying Glass was next and again oozed plenty of energy. 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 and this song whipped everyone into a frenzy. Ostrich was next and this was a nice song. A crowd pleaser as well. I haven’t heard it since the gig at Relentless Garage in 2009. As soon as it started Ritzy’s vocals were crystal clear then as the song progressed it becasme more heavy. Once over people then started to chant Happy Birthday to Ritzy. It was then into The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade. This song was extremely powerful and plenty of people were singing along. 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. 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 gong towards the back of the stage.

It was then onto I Don’t Want To See You Like This and even though it was delivered stongly there is a gentler bit in the middle of the song. It was then onto While The Flies and it was simply amazing it started off with Ritzy singing acapella. Her voice is so strong and beautiful. Then after the rest of the band come in and the song oozed plenty of energy. This was a real treat to hear this track from the A Balloon Called Moaning EP. Once the band finished the song Ritzy thanks the other bands for playing. There was only one song which could end such an epic gig and this being Whirring. Before the actual song there was an instrumental for about a minute. This song capped of something truly magical. It oozed energy and the atmosphere from the crowd was amazing. The band then leave the stage only to return for the 2 song encore. Greyhounds In The Slips which was offered as a free download was up first. They powered through this song at ease. Why it didn’t make the album remains a mystery. The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie was the song which capped off one epic night. The song is a gentle and there were parts where the song is heavy. Spectrum definitely went down well with the crowd

SET LIST

A Heavy Abacus
The Magnifying Glass
Austere
Ostrich
The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade
Cradle
Bouy
I Don’t Wanna See You Like This
While The Flies
Whirring

ENCORE

Greyhounds In The Slip
The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie

OVERALL: I look forward to seeing The Joy Formidable play again. They are definately raising their game and getting better every time I see them play. My highlight of the night has to be getting Matt’s drumstick which flew off stage after the end of Whirring and also getting a set list (They were going to play Anemone after Greyhounds). The Joy Formidable have everything you could want from a band. Yes the songs may be heavy but they put every drop of energy into them. It is no surprise that there was plenty of pushing and crowdsurfing during the gig. The atmosphere was electric.

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