THE LO DOWN: The Joy Formidable @ BoTH 4/14

April 18. 2011 | By Lauren Nagel

Photo by Wilson Lee

Rock heads and indie darlings collided at Thursday’s sold-out The Joy Formidable show at Bottom of the Hill — and no one was left standing (in the rad, face-melting kind of way).

Playing hits from the recently released The Big Roar mixed with favorites from their 2009 breakout A Balloon Called Moaning, the trio hit the stage and did what they do best: a cheerful hello, briefly chatting up the crowd with some gentle Welsh banter, before taking to their instruments and shredding our teeth off. I was immediately intrigued by singer Ritzy Bryan, sporting her signature white-blonde bob and sweet baby doll dress with a guitar that nearly toppled her small frame. But don’t be fooled by her exterior, gents — she is a beast on the guitar, with a pure, unweathered voice to boot. (The interesting juxtaposition is reminiscent of St. Vincent, but with significantly more rockage.)

Photo by Wilson Lee

The show’s highlight was the epic rendition of “I Don’t Want To See You Like This,” illuminating the band’s impressive command of tension building and dynamics. Rock bands take note: face-melting is awesome, but the ability to break it down, whisper sweet nothings into our ears and build it back up with a sweeping anthemic swell is…. well, is why this show was sold out. When Ritzy grabbed a stick and started smashing a cymbal, four-on-the-floor style, I’m pretty sure the dude heavy crowd collectively jizzed in their panties. Stay classy, San Francisco.

Coachella’ers won’t be disappointed if they catch The Joy Formidable this weekend, and we’d be damn fools to miss them in the recently announced line-up of Outside Lands. Bring ear plugs n’ fresh drawers and I’ll see you there.

For super cool photos, go HERE.

Photo by Wilson Lee

Photo by Wilson Lee

Photo by Wilson Lee

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