NXNE Review: The Joy Formidable, June 15, The Mod Club

Photo by Elisabeth Isles

A couple of songs into The Joy Formidable’s set at The Mod Club, singer Ritzy Bryan announced that they would be treating the night’s show as their record release party. It confused me a bit, since i was fairly certain that their latest, Hitch, came out a while back, but she went on to announce that it had come out here later, due to some “boring shit” that she wasn’t about to go into and that they would treat this as their record release show because they can. Fair enough. They then promptly went on to play a brand new song that’s not even on that record, also because they can. Hey, why not? Bryan made it clear that the band does whatever they want to do, though mostly what they want to do seems to involve rocking out to their big, shiny, anthemic tunes.

A bit later in their set, Bryan tried to chat up the crowd about the fest. “This is part of a festival, isn’t it? North by North … East?” she asked, and when she went on to ask who else we had coming to town this week … well, there was a bit of silence with only Father John Misty’s name being offered up at first. Awkward. To be fair, there’s probably not a lot of overlap between fans of The Joy Formidable and say, Pere Ubu or Schoolboy Q fans, so it’s not too surprising that no one could think of any other notable names on the spot, but it still served as a reminder that NXNE is not what it used to be. Also, the guy who shouted out Prozzak should have realized that a band from Wales would be very, very unlikely to know of our weird Canadian cartoon band (no offence to Simon and Milo).

Still, regardless of any of that, The Joy Formidable put on an entertaining show. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen them live and they still manage to impress, fully throwing themselves into their performance and playing with a certain aggression and, well, joy.

Posted on by Paul in North By Northeast