Present tense.

Ages ago, well, in January, I asked members of Holus-Bolus to listen to The Joy Formidable’s new album Wolf’s Law and give me 5 word reviews or reviews in gif form. Here they are:

Dave P – I love female guitarists a lot. (yeah, that’s 6 words)

Henje R – Whirring one hit wonder band. (he had not listened to the album)

Fred G – taut pop v. widescreen vistas.

Dagny P – http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lkhuu8p2FW1qfbi6po1_500.gif (I’m lazy, click the links)

David M G – Energetic rock, at-turns reflective and anthemic (we listen to music, we don’t need no maths)

Dave C – http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcv6dhCU341rp57pjo1_500.gif

Dave P – Hoping it’d get better, didn’t. (I’m sure he still loves the lady guitarists though)

And finally, a haiku review by Jeff M –

thund’rous nature ode

power and beauty collide

Ritzy acoustic

 

A bit mixed, right? Personally, I loved it, felt it was a really solid sophomore album and was excited for the supporting tour. I went to their last show when they played at the Metro, it was so. much. fun. I was expecting much of the same last night. I took a friend that had never heard of them, which is always dangerous, but I was totally confident in him being won over by their energy, their noise and their….well, their Welshishness. Background snippet lifted from Wikipedia – The Joy Formidable is a Welsh alternative rock band, formed in 2007 in North Wales and currently located in London, England. The band consists of Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan (lead vocals, guitar), Rhydian Dafydd (bass, backing vocals), and Matt Thomas (drums, percussion).

And now, onto the show.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM?

I’m really hoping it was an off night. The first difference I noticed between the two shows I’ve seen them perform is that now they seem to have a bit more spit and polish to them, not necessarily a bad thing. Compared to the two opening acts, they were tight, they sounded great. The second thing I noticed was that it appeared that Rhydian has gotten a lot of sex in the past year and half. He went from what seemed like a more fun/funny dude to a…. kind of a douchebag. The stage set up spoke to that. Before it was like, Ritzy and Her Blokes. Last night it was more, Ritzy and Rhydian and there’s Matt over there just trying to stay out of the line of fire.

The playlist was solid, but the audience really connected with their more raucous earlier offerings from their first album, The Big Roar. That’s when the hands were waving, that’s when the crowd was dancing and jumping and that’s when the band looked like it was having the most fun. The dynamic was momentarily back. Wolf’s Law is a more melodic and is really beautiful, but doesn’t have the overall oomph and riotous feel. Much cleaner. Maybe more sacharine. I don’t know.

Normally I would be somewhat concerned about what my show buddy was thinking, I had talked them up quite a bit. I didn’t care at this point and voiced that to him. Something was OFF. They weren’t bantering. Ritzy looked like she had to be reminded to smile by a stagemom. Like I said, everything sounded great, but it wasn’t fun. It was good, but not great. I really, really hope it was an off night. Otherwise, at the end of this tour they need to take a break.

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