Front Row

The Joy Formidable, Live In Concert: SXSW 2011

It's hard to imagine a band doing more with limited time than the Welsh-raised, London-based pop-rock trio The Joy Formidable. The group had to cut its set at NPR Music's daytime SXSW party in Austin, Texas, down to a lean four songs due to time constraints. But those spiky, bouncy songs absolutely slayed.

Not many bands can be effectively viewed from the side of the stage — the sound isn't mixed that way — but at times near the end of this blazing set, it was the best view in the house. Singer Ritzy Bryan didn't seem to care which direction she faced: she spent a long stint with her back to the audience; later she knelt in front of her pedals, pounding on them with her fists as her guitar unleashed a mighty feedback squall nearby. As rock 'n' roll experiences go, it was almost painfully brief. But it hit like a gut-punch of visceral, charismatic energy.

Set List
  • "The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade"
  • "Cradle"
  • "Austere"
  • "Whirring"
Band Personnel
  • Ritzy Bryan - Vocals, Guitar
  • Rhydian Dafydd - Bass
  • Matt Thomas - Drums
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