Back in December Clarks Originals announced that Welsh Pop/ Rock trio The Joy Formidable were set to embark on a guerilla tour of the UK. This would see Ritzy Bryan, Rhydian Dafydd and Matt Thomas play in Bristol, Manchester and London. The three venues were announced 48 hours prior to the actual gig. These venues were extremely unique and would be extremely memorable for the people attending. So back in December I entered my details and applied for the London date. I had just seen the band play at HMV Forum in October and I needed another fix. Once my details had been sent off I wasn’t that optimistic I would be one of the lucky 150 as they have a huge following plus London would be the date most people would apply for. Honestly I had completely forgotten I had entered, so it came as a surprise when I received an email saying I had won a pair of tickets. As the end of February approached the venue was confirmed. This being Factory 7 in Shoreditch. As I had never attended that venue before I decided to get there 3 hours before doors. I arrived at 4pm and literally this place is extremely tricky to find. By tricky I mean that the place wasn’t even numbered. All I had to rely on was the pictures on the venues website and research on what roads I needed to go down. Once there I asked if I was at the entrance because I had expected a few more people. Fast forward to 6pm and that’s when people started to arrive. During these 2 hours I had already chilled out at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen to make use of the free Wi Fi. When the security got the green light people started to make their way into the venue to collect the lanyard plus 3 free drinks tokens. Factory 7 looked like an underground car park. You had two stages the main stage for the electric set and for the acoustic there was a campfire in the middle.
Kicking off around 7.50pm was something rather special and unique. This was to be a short but sweet acoustic set by The Joy Formidable around a made up campfire. Everyone was huddled around the band and Ritzy mentioned that people could sit down on the green rug (which was made to look like grass) or one of the three logs. People were politely asked not to film or take photos during this slot because it was the first time they had performed these songs acoustically (plus a brand new song featured during this set). They opened up with The Last Drop which was taken from EP A Balloon Called Moaning. This was the first time I had heard this song played live since 2009 (and that time it was featured in the electric set). Still Ritzy took to the main vocals, Rhydian harmonised and Matt played the small drum kit. It actually worked rather well as an acoustic song. Next it was onto a song I had never heard live before and this being Llaw=Wall and this being a song which Rhydian mainly sung plus the fact it was acoustic made it ever so beautiful. When nearing the end it began to pick up pace (Matt was also playing) plus it gained a lot of power. It was then back to A Balloon Called Moaning for Ostrich. The vocals were crystal clear and the song was rather soft and entrancing at the same time. It felt as if this song was being belted out acoustically. Before the song I had made my way back to the main stage as the acoustic set was played in the middle. The set ended with brand new song Silent Treatment which sounded sublime. Ritzy told the audience how they’ve been tucked away in a log cabin recording their second album. Bryan’s vocals were beautiful and she delivered this song to perfection. I look forward to hearing the studio version but I guess it will sound completely different as it will be full on electric. Actually based on how amazing the set was I wouldn’t mind if they played a couple of songs acoustically when they do embark on their next tour of the UK.
The Last Drop
An hour later it was then onto the electric set which literally blew me away. It was nice to see the band play this close to the audience. It took me back to the intimacy I felt when they play The Borderline in 2009. This time the band had début album The Big Roar under their belts and this set was a proper headline set. The evening kicked off with the bands last single and this being A Heavy Abacus. The vocals were complete perfection and it was packed with plenty of power. It was then onto I Don’t Want To See You Like This and even though it was delivered strongly there was a gentler bit in the middle of the song. Cradle was up straight away and this extended version sounded incredible. The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie was followed on and it had a steady pace to begin with and then gained more power as I progressed. The verses Ritzy sang were rather gentle. After plenty of applause it was onto Austere which was a real crowd pleaser. People were singing along to this heavy song. The atmosphere was simply electric and this song whipped everyone into a frenzy. Immediately after was The Magnifying Glass which oozed bundles of energy. Endtapes was next and this song was mellowing compared to the other material which was sung on the night. It is a shame that it’s been 4 months too late. This fantastic song featured in the Twilight: Breaking Dawn film/ soundtrack. Capping off this outstanding evening was 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 it. The band then left the stage only to return moments later as the crowd were cheering for more. “Thankyou for making this night very special” Bryan said before kicking off with Anemone. This song started off both soft and gentle. Ritzy’s vocals were perfect. The lyrics are outstanding and it is a shame this song does not feature on the album. When the song progressed it gained a lot more power. The night came to a close with 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 song itself had been extended to 9 minutes. At the end Ritzy dismantled the drums and threw her guitar onto the floor.
A Heavy Abacus
I Don’t Want To See You Like This
The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie
The Magnifying Glass
The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade
OVERALL: This was one amazing night taking place at a venue I will never get the chance to go to again. Even though there was around 400 people in attendence being right at the front does give you that intimate feel. The Joy Formidable put plenty of energy into their set and the crowd loved it. There was plenty of fingers in the air and plenty of jumping up and down. All in all fantastic night and I look forward to seeing them again when they are back on the gigging circuit (this evening being the last UK performance as they were set to embark on a tour of the USA).