With the familiar synth melody of "The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade" beckoning The Joy Formidable onto the stage, it acted like a bookmark from the last time the UK power trio played at The Grog Shop five years ago. Now touring the states in support of their third album, Hitch
, the international indie rockers have plenty more material to flaunt since the last time (as well as more equipment, which included more amply stocked pedalboards and a gong), but whether they were playing classics like "Cradle" or new cuts like "The Last Thing On My Mind," the band's performance throughout the night maintained a level of energy that was nothing short of stellar.
Frontwoman Ritzy Bryan, who at face value comes off very sweet and endearing with her blowing kisses and touches hands with the crowd, can make some damn loud noises with her guitar, whether it be her hazy tremolo fits in "I Don't Want To See You Like This" or her raucous blues rock soloing in "Maw Maw Song." Her demure appearance also contrasts her knack for vulgar banter, with her declaring in between songs, "our new record is going to be called 'The Cunts of Destiny.'" It's likely a lie, but should their fourth album years from now actually bear that title, let the record show that you heard it here first.
Bryan's center-stage status didn't leave the other two-thirds of the trio in the shadows. Drummer Matt Thomas worked himself into an awe-inspiring frenzy in the rising tempos of "The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie," and if you were able to see him from behind his array of cymbals, his long hair and charmingly deranged grins that give him a Russell Brand-type of look made his stage presence all the more entertaining. And bassist Rhydian Dafydd not only went above and beyond with his deft riffing in "Radio Of Lips," but his chemistry with Bryan made the set all the more memorable. At one point, Bryan razzed Dafydd for claiming that he never screws up while performing, and Dafydd responded to her snark by intentionally fucking up the final note of "Silent Treatment," sparking up laughter from the entire room. But come the encore, Bryan and Dafydd displayed their sincere and perfect harmony with an acoustic rendition of "The Brook," which they performed in the very middle of the crowd, right before going out with a bang in the closing classic "Whirring."