Review: The Joy Formidable deliver a snarling, sexy show at Orpheum in Ybor City
There is something about a sexy, psychotic female that gets peoples’ attention. Adorable yet frightening. Sexy but full of rage. Quiet and soft-spoken, with varying bouts of verbal assaults.
When I was turned on to The Joy Formidable months ago, I added them to my Pandora, and heard the occasional song. I really liked what I heard, but was too busy to run out and try to purchase any material from them.
A few months later I saw they were coming to the Orpheum in Ybor City, so I made sure to catch this live show. And while I cannot sit here and let the name of every specific song roll off my tongue, I can say they play a powerful live show, I love their music, and if you missed this show, you should hang your head low. It was one of the most original acts I have seen in a while.
For those who are not yet in the know, The Joy Formidable is a three-piece band formed in Wales in 2007. This is obvious from female vocalist and lead guitarist Ritzy Bryan’s thick yet (generally) soft-spoken voice. Between songs she did her best to speak with fans, but honestly, most onlookers didn’t get a word of what she was saying.
When the music played, no one cared. Similar to the language of love, this was the language of music. Powerful and creative music. Soft yet heavy. Clean in form. And just like the beautiful vocalist who screamed and growled with her matching heavy riffs, it was deceiving. The Joy Formidable has a unique, yin-and-yang style of music. Some consider them indie grind fusion rock (did I just make that up?).
Looking at the images I took from the show, you might think they’re a folk band, with Bryan wearing a wholesome white dress and holding a mild-looking six-string guitar. It isn’t until she snarls and forces a heavy scream from those six strings that you realize this lady isn’t going to bake you an apple pie. She reminds me of that sexy yet crazy girlfriend you had back in college. Those pitbull snarls combined with Prozac stares ... it will get your attention quick.
With a sound mixing powerful grunge, heavy double bass drumming and eclectic guitar riffs, how can you go wrong with this band? It was a performance Henry Rollins would be proud of. Drummer Matt Thomas plays a heavy drum kit, and adds so much to this power mix of music. Bass guitarist Rhydian Dafydd was the calm one of the bunch, but came through in the end, mashing a few stage toys. They played an awesome and extensive set, which in the end was met with amps and guitars being pushed and shoved to the stage floor.
And even more cool of Ritzy Bryan, she even hung out after the show and had a beer with some fans. This was Joy’s first time playing Florida, and I heard Ritzy tell a fan, “It’s so cool, you have lizards and palm trees!” I guess she hasn’t seen the roaches yet.
As far as the opening act, Fang Island was a decent choice for a moderate, semi-instrumental, five-piece band. They kept the crowd interested, and their three lead guitarists traded licks like an impromptu garage band jam session. Based out of Brooklyn, they showed Tampa a good time and prepped us for the night.
The Orpheum put on another great show, and I can’t say enough about the new venue. If you still haven’t gotten your lazy ass to out to catch a show here, do it!
— Review/photos by Andrew Carlton, tbt*
-- Review / photos by Andrew Carlton, tbt*