Joy Formidable bring their energetic Brit rock to the Neptune
The Joy Formidable made a joyful noise at the Neptune Mar. 27.
Special to The Seattle Times
The Joy Formidable made a lot of joyful noise Wednesday night at the Neptune Theatre.
The Welsh-bred, London-based trio’s fans were also pretty noisy, howling approval and showing so much enthusiasm that singer-guitarist “Ritzy” Bryan (speaking in a delightful accent worthy of the “Downton Abbey” TV series) thanked them profusely for their passion and support.
With blond fireball Bryan at the helm, the Joy Formidable raised the roof with songs from its current album, “Wolf’s Law,” as well as its first album, “The Big Roar.” An early favorite was “This Ladder Is Ours,” the new album’s high-powered debut single.
In addition to Bryan, the band included Rhydian Dafydd on bass and backing vocals and Matt Thomas on drums and percussion. Collectively, the trio was a bundle of kinetic punk-rock energy. Bryan and Dafydd bounced around the stage as if on spring-loaded shoes, and Thomas assaulted his drums and cymbals like a man possessed.
Hanging behind the trio as a backdrop was the crude outline of a wolf’s head in tiny lights, underscoring the band’s recurring theme of humankind against the untamed wilderness of life (but looking a bit chintzy).
Dramatic videos accompanied many songs. “Little Blimp” featured aerial shots of New York City and the fiery Hindenburg disaster of 1937. And, curiously, images from the 1953 Gregory Peck-Audrey Hepburn movie “Roman Holiday” appeared on the screen during “Maw Maw Song” (the connection wasn’t obvious).
“Tendons,” one of the trio’s few love songs, outlined a romantic relationship between Bryan and Dafydd that no longer exists — but still makes a compelling storyline.
Among the concert’s more delicate songs was “The Silent Treatment,” featuring Bryan on lead vocal. The song provided a respite from the evening’s edgier songs, as well as a showcase for Bryan’s lovely voice.
During a three-song encore that included “Wolf’s Law,” Bryan and Dafydd took turns leaping into the crowd, while Thomas delivered an explosive drum solo that served as a damn-the-decibels finale.
Opening acts included two five-piece rock bands, Fort Lean and Guards. The former was lean on experience, but enthusiastic about its music. Guards offered a dreamy, keyboard-driven set of pop-rock songs while keeping the crowd pumped for the headliner.
Gene Stout: firstname.lastname@example.org