The Joy Formidable – Leeds Festival 2012 review

The Joy Formidable at Leeds Festival 2011 by Sara Bowrey
The Joy Formidable at Leeds Festival 2011 by Sara Bowrey


Can’t you see I’m good?” croons frontwoman Ritzy Bryan, lead vocals and guitarist of the experimental trio, midway through a rendition of their album-opening yet set-closing ‘The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie’. 

And of course we all can. For the last forty minutes the gloom of the tent has been occupied by a vast horde of entranced zombies, mesmerised by the pulsing, fluting waves of noise produced by the band on stage, rolling through the dark. 

The cavernous tent is not quite packed, yet girls on shoulders abound from the front to the back, as a Tetris-costumed individual rides the waves of singing festival-goers. 

The progressive feel of the Welsh group make their success a little surprising, and the fact that they have only released one album to date makes it more so. Luckily this makes the crowd “beautiful sexy guinea pigs” for their new material, which goes down almost as well as their recognisable songs. Beaming faces chant the lyrics to fan favourites such as ‘Cradle’ or ‘Whirring’, and the screaming is riotous.

This is The Joy Formidable’s only UK festival and they are going all out, and clearly happy to do so. Illuminated flowers grace the mic stand, the light show is refined and the musicians are sharply dressed.

Bathed in red light, Bryan leaps up and batters the drum kit, the cacophonous end of ‘Everchanging Spectrum’ reverberating through the hearts of the listeners – clearly a highlight of the festival so far.

— Sam Lindsay

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