Happy Happy, Joy (Joy Formidable)
I first heard Welsh three piece The Joy Formidable going on two years ago when I happened to catch an online performance posted of them from the UK's Channel M. The band were tight, but there just seemed to be a little something-something missing. Good songs, yes, but I remained a very casual listener.
Jump ahead to last week when I decided to check in again on The Joy Formidable. Often when perusing bands I'll first hunt down live clips before diving into studio recordings, since for me personally the true test of a great band is being able to take to the stage (no matter the size of the venue or the hostility of the crowd), and rather than mimic or attempt to replicate pristine recordings focus on connecting with the audience. The Joy Formidable I saw last week crushed the same band I had watched two years ago.
Why? Thanks go to new-ish drummer Matt Thomas, who along with singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan and bassist Rhydian Dafydd have stepped it up a notch or six and made The Joy Formidable a live two man plus one woman wrecking crew. Thomas reminds me of a combination of Nirvana-era Dave Grohl crossed with Blondie's Clem Burke. This quote, taken from the Von Pip Musical Express sums up the force of Thomas' live playing better than I ever could:
"He plays so hard he has to tape up the skin on his hands and his sticks get worn down to pulp. I know because I begged a souvenir stick off him and it’s like a soggy piece of well chewed sugar cane. His fingers look the same."
Stop by the VPME and check out their in-depth evaluation of The Joy Formidable live, here.
On top of this, Rolling Stone made comparisons of Thomas to Keith Moon in this month's issue. I think Thomas is a little more refined than Keith ever was, but he sure does hit those skins. Hard.
Check out The Joy Formidable at their website, www.thejoyformidable.com, and keep your eyes and ears peeled for their debut full length album release, The Big Roar, which lands January 24 in the UK and March 15 in the US.
The Last Drop