|The Joy Formidable|
There is a celebratory feel when Joy Formidable take to the stage, a sense of excitement in the air. Maybe it's because after toiling away for the past three years, releasing an assortment of 7”s, self-releasing their first album – mini LP 'A Balloon Called Moaning', it feels as if all their hard work is finally paying-off.
They've just signed to Atlantic Records subsidiary Canvasback Music and are set to release their debut album proper in the new year. But before all that, they've been picked by the New Musical Express to headline their annual new music trek the NME Radar Tour; and that is where we find them this evening. They are performing at the Rescue Rooms on top of the bill that also features fellow nu-gaze types Chapel Club along with Flats and Wilder.
This is the third time I've seen the Joy Formidable live this year. The first being at The Bodega back in March and then more recently at Reading Festival, and as soon as they launch in to Cradle, they play with more conviction, energy and (excuse the pun) sheer joy than I have ever seen them do before.
Their set is a kaleidoscopic barrage of guitar squall and thirst quenching melodic art-rock. They manage to mix chirpy, catchy melodies with shoegaze-esq guitar work-outs that blast out from the stage like a cannon of fuzzy noise that envelopes the audience in a hail of My Bloody Valentine shaped musical bullets.
They play a mix of, I guess what now could be classed as 'fan favourites', from 'A Balloon Called Moaning' and newer post-'Balloon' songs. Of the older songs, the aforementioned Cradle, as well as the bombastic Austere and the slow burning menacing Ostrich stand out as particular highlights . Whilst the newer tracks we are treated to, such as I Don't Want To See You Like This, Greyhounds In The Slips and The Magnifying Glass, have more bite, are snappier, and suck more of a punch than anything the band has done previously - The new album should be one of the highlights of 2011 if these tracks are anything to go by.
A nice little surprise comes in the form of The Joy Formidable's Bukowski-referencing Christmas song from a couple of years back, My Beer Drunk Soul Is Sadder Than A Hundred Dead Christmas Trees. It may not be the festive time of year just yet, but there shouldn't be any excuse needed to play what is a wonderfully downbeat song.
The band finishes the night with valedictory version of Whirring that descends in to waves of feedback and snapped guitar strings, and is the perfect way to celebrate a band who you feel are finally getting the recognition that the deserve.
The Joy Formidable headlined the NME Radar Tour at the Rescue Rooms on Thursday 30 September 2010.