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The Joy Formidable, Manchester Victoria Baths, Gig Review

Nadia Jaynes takes a secret dip in the pool and comes out feeling refreshed

Written by . Published on March 5th 2012.


The Joy Formidable, Manchester Victoria Baths, Gig Review

MANCHESTER’S Victoria Baths was the top secret venue for The Joy Formidable’s intimate gig, brought to us by Clarks Originals Live. 

A handful of lucky fans were chosen to join the band at the unusual location to showcase material from their forthcoming (currently unnamed) album ahead of their impending tour of the USA.  It was a hush hush event with burly bouncers on the door, a strict entry policy, and just 150 guests invited. 

A tiny ‘campfire’ had been built within the beautifully tiled main pool and the band sat round on logs to play an acoustic set.

A tiny ‘campfire’ had been built within the beautifully tiled main pool and the band sat round on logs to play an acoustic set. Fans were invited to huddle around whilst Ritzy, Rhydian and Justin performed an unplugged session of three of their latest tracks - previously unheard material.  

It was a wonderful setting for such a tiny gig. Ritzy and Rhydian brought out their acoustic guitars whilst drummer Matt had created a pretty unique drum kit incorporating ballcocks and tambourines but padding out the beat on the wooden box he was sitting on.

The Joy Formidable

The standout track of the set was ‘Silent’. It’s the bands second record which is currently ready for release and looks sure to be an album favourite.  With Ritzy’s smoky vocals ringing out “I’ll take the silent treatment... I’ll take the easy secrets”, it was a cosy and informal get together that opened a window to the formidable trio. 

After a small interval the band took to the main stage which had been erected at the far end of the pool to play a rip roaring set of their biggest hits.  The band were first thrust into the spotlight when their track ‘Austere’ was used on Channel 4’s Skins pushing their album A Balloon Called Moaning up the charts, but Ritzy Bryan and Rhydian Dafydd have been around in various guises for years (Tricky Nixon and Sidecar Kisses to name a couple), before hooking up with drummer Matt Thomas to form The Joy Formidable in its current form.

The Joy Formidable, Manchester

It truly was a once in a lifetime gig and the band pulled off a blazing set with their signature sound of heavy guitars and crashing drums set against a backdrop of Brit-poppy lyrics and Ritzy Bryan’s formidable vocals. The band know just when to pull out the biggies too; crowd pleaser ‘Cradle’ saw Ritzy prowling the stage thrashing her guitar and whamming her FX pedals to maximum effect, whilst a small crowd at the front of the stage pogo’d in the mosh pit – (or as much of a mosh pit as you can have with 100 people in a swimming pool).  ‘Whirring’ and ‘Austere’ were received with the same enthusiasm.  

The Joy Formidable due to release their second album following their US tour in March. 

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Paul GormleyMarch 8th 2012.

"Fans were invited to huddle around whilst Ritzy, Rhydian and Justin performed an unplugged session of three of their latest tracks - previously unheard material."

1. Justin hasn't been in the band since 2008, Matt Thomas was on drums as he has been for three years now.
2. The acoustic set was two songs from the bands eight track ep "A Balloon Called Moaning" from 2009, one from the debut album "The Big Roar" from 2011 and one new song "Silent Treatment" so not sure where you get your information at all about them playing 3 latest tracks, unreleased no less!
3. "Brit Poppy Lyrics" - what?
4. Rant over.

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