The Joy Formidable Review

10th April 2013 by Emma Scott

Emma Scott Presents: Joy Formidable – Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall

Support: Kill It Kid


Meteorologically speaking, March 1st is the commencement of spring. The Friday evening chill contradicts this theory.

Fortunately, the latest offering from Emma Scott Presents is enough to warm the body and the soul.

Kill It Kid are a peculiar, idiosyncratic bunch who combine elements of roots, rock and blues to create intriguing soundscapes that recall a cross between Nirvana’s more reflective moments and The White Stripes.

Siblings Chris Turpin and Stephanie Ward share vocal duties, producing some eccentric interplay to provide a compelling backdrop to the bluesy anthems.

There’s enough character and distinct musical flavour to interest the Joy Formidable fanbase to see them again.

A week earlier, The Joy Formidable were playing a support slot to Bloc Party to respectful applause, but tonight their display elicits far more reverence and energy from a crowd clearly in thrall to the enigmatic bundle of playful rock ‘n’ roll abandon that is frontwoman Ritzy Bryan.

For a three piece, they can make one hell of a cacophonous noise. Their futuristic indie-rock pounds the gloomy confines of the Wulfrun Hall, creating a communal bouncing at the front that feels friendlier than the brutal moshpits that you can encounter.

A turbo-charged barrage of ‘Cholla’, fan favourite, ‘Austere’ and ‘This Ladder is Ours’ set the tempo for the majority of the evening, with the occasional interlude for something lighter and plaintive. I’d like to see this side employed more in future, as despite the visceral thrills of the harder stuff, you get a better idea of Bryan’s vocal capability on the tender tracks.

As the opening to their encore, they dedicate ‘Bats’ to a long-serving fan who is celebrating his 71st birthday. It is touching to know that a septuagenarian is still rocking out, particularly when you hear twentysomethings expressing their gig fatigue.

The Joy Formidable play with boundless energy, Welsh spunk and a ferocious drive that makes you think they’re playing the gig as if it is their last.

By the end, the insane closing track ‘Whirring’ left everyone safe in the knowledge that most of us have got a few decades left in us to rock hard.

Thanks to Jamie Brannon

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