You'll probably never see The Joy Formidable in a venue as small as 3 Kings again

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
The Joy Formidable at 3 Kings Tavern on March 25, 2014
The latest installment in the nascent Red Bull Sound Select Series probably could have happened at a venue three times the size of 3 Kings. And The Joy Formidable kicked up a glorious racket that was big enough for a stadium rock event.

Before getting on stage, the trio seems like such a charming, mild-mannered bunch. But during their set, an irrepressible spirit, an electrifying enthusiasm, coursed through the band. At one point front woman Ritzy Bryan told us about where the band is originally from in North Wales, where there are big, rolling hills and mountains. It's a lot like Colorado, she noted, and that when it was starting out, The Joy Formidable wanted to make a sound that the mountains might make. The manifestation of that early ambition was sure on full display last night.

See also: Q&A with The Joy Formidable: "It's important to always push people to feel something"

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Tom Murphy
The Joy Formidable at 3 Kings Tavern on March 25, 2014

There was an admirable seamlessness between the sampled sounds and tracks and the other instrumentation and that just made the band seem almost superhuman in the amount of sound and detail coming flooding from the P.A. speakers. Bryan clearly had some kind of iOS device in her chain of equipment on the floor. It may have been some more portable way to bring more effects controllable with the long set of foot switches. And Rhydian Dafydd had some kind of sampler or looper as well. But they both made any multi-tasking seem second nature, putting their full energy into the execution of the music on an emotional level alongside drummer Matthew Thomas. At times Bryan did what might be best described as a backward mini-crouch as though playing her guitar to the skies.

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Tom Murphy
The Joy Formidable at 3 Kings Tavern on March 25, 2014

The music, drawn from all three of the group's albums, was perfectly sequenced so that there was never a drop in momentum: "Maw Maw Song" was prog enough to be reminiscent of something Edgar Winter might have written, and amidst the towering whirlwinds of exuberant, uplifting melodies, there were moments of tenderness. Even the songs about sad subjects seemed like a transmogrification of that emotional pain into determination. Joy Formidable was truly the band that lived up to the promise of its name.


Location Info

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3 Kings Tavern

60 S. Broadway, Denver, CO

Category: Music


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