Front Row: The Joy Formidable A Welsh pop trio based in London, The Joy Formidable plays spiky, bouncy rock that benefits immeasurably from the charisma of frontwoman Ritzy Bryan.

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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