Filed under: gigs | Tags: expatriate, live, the flowerpot, the joy formidable
Belatedly, this was the first gig of the year for myself and what better place to go for it than the familiar surroundings of the Flowerpot in Camden.
The Joy Formidable are a band that have always managed to elude me whenever they’ve played in London before and they were a band I’ve been managing to try and catch for a little while as I quite enjoyed their debut album from last year (which managed to chart in the respectable position of #13 in my 20 favourite albums of 2009). In the end, it was a slightly spur of the moment decision to go along, only deciding that afternoon to go along.
On arrival I was a little surprised that the Flowerpot, by their own admission, had broken their own ‘one-band-a-night’ rule and that there were to actually be two acts performing that night. As such, the openers for the night were the Aussie four piece Expatriate, a band that I hadn’t previously heard of.
I was pleasantly surprised with these guys as they had quite a few catchy tracks that progressed nicely with a bit of a mainstream indie rock sound mixed with the occassional dancey/electronic feel to it which worked pretty well. Sadly, not knowing any song names, it’s a bit hard to talk about their set in too much detail but their final song was, for me, the best of the lot. They had a real solid sound and Ben King made a pretty decent frontman for the four of them (and occassionally for the five of them with a friend form the crowd joining them on stage for a couple of numbers).
After that came the headline act of the night and by now the Flowerpot had begun to reach what looked like full capacity. This wasn’t a problem for me though and a spot down the front was soon acquired.
One of the first things I noticed about the band was the distinct lack of synths or keyboards on stage. This surprised me a little bit as I always felt that electro sound was fairly prominent on their record. In the end, it turned out the these duties belonged to a laptop at the back of the stage. The other think I’d never realised about the band was that it was only a threesome and so Fitzy Bryan take up both guitar and vocal duties.
Anyhoo, it wasn’t long before they took to the stage to begin and kicked off their set with the album opener “The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade” which set the tone for the rest of their set with the tempo and quite heavy sound which surprised me as well. The whole set leant a lot more to the rock side of the album than the electro/pop sound which I hadn’t been expecting but it gave the whole show a lot more energy than it might otherwise have.
The rest of their set consisted of a number of songs off the album, with tracks like “Cradle” sounding as good, if not better, live than on the record, with the crowd singing along at various stages. Particular mention has to go to the group of 40 year old blokes in the middle of the crowd who were singing the loudest and dancing the most to the band. On top of this, there were a few songs I didn’t immediately recognise (and didn’t recognise from the glimpse of the setlist I saw) so there were, potentially some new songs thrown in too which worked alongside the album material really well (this is backed up by the fact the band are actually in the midst of mixing the second album so the new material was definitely there to be played).
Overall, I was really impressed with the band; the energy on stage was really good, then music was nice and tight and Fitzy was a great lead for the band with her vocals standing out really well and her (slightly creepy) staring out into the crowd. The sound levels were really good as well so the sound was spot on; I could even make out the bass clearly which doesn’t happen all that often!
Not a bad start for this year in gigs at all.
The Joy Formidable – Cradle (live)
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