Passion Pit, the Joy Formidable Rock L.A.’s Greek Theatre

The Joy Formidable's Rhydian Dafydd and Ritzy Bryan.
The Joy Formidable’s Rhydian Dafydd and Ritzy Bryan.

Friday night in Los Angeles was a crisp Autumn evening, but after Passion Pit and the Joy Formidable each turned in their snappy sets at the Greek Theatre, everyone seemed to leave all warm and fuzzy.

The Joy Formidable admittedly carried more of a rock feel, with frontwoman Ritzy Bryan’s snarling guitar leading their hard-charging sound.  Rhydian Dafydd and Matthew Thomas make up a thumping rhythm section, and that was evident from the start.  The Welsh trio launched into an opener of “This Ladder is Ours” with Thomas’ arms flailing wildly at his drum kit – which was set up stage left instead of a drummer’s typical center-stage position.

Dafydd’s bass set the stage for the following “Little Blimp,” laying down a heartbeat of a low end before Bryan’ Stratocaster screamed into the mix.

Both “Ladder” and “Blimp” come off the Joy Formidable’s 2013 album Wolf’s Law, but they dipped back into their catalog with a hypnotizing version of “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade” from 2010′s A Balloon Called Moaning and ”Cradle” from their 2011 effort The Big Roar.

Throughout their show, the band’s energy was infectious.  Bryan and Dafydd continually met in the middle to playfully posture at each other, and Thomas had no trouble exhorting the fans up front with the point of a drumstick.

The Joy Formidable saved one of their best-known hits – “Whirring” – for last, closing it out with a frenetic jam session filled with a ton of feedback and percussive blasts from Thomas’ gong.


Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos and Ian Hultquist.
Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos and Ian Hultquist.

It was Passion Pit’s time to shine next, and that’s just what they did, playing many of their insanely-addictive synth pop anthems.

Singer Michael Angelakos bounded around like an excited child from the get-go. He was obviously excited to perform at the historic venue, and told everybody as such several times.

The band came out to the joyous “Make Light,” before their bombastic smash “The Reeling.”  With its call-and-response chorus and the venue’s popping purple and red lights, their first two offerings, which both came off 2010′s Manners, really got the dance party going.

Passion Pit then rolled through a few tracks off their recently-released Gossamer in the form of “Carried Away,” “It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy” and “Mirrored Sea,” in addition to “I’ll Be Alright” and the lead single “Take a Walk.”

The band walked off after playing their first-ever single “Sleepyhead,” acknowledging the screaming followers who hoarsely cheered the slow-building hit.  Of course, an encore seemed appropriate after such a joyous occasion, and Passion Pit delivered with “Moth’s Wings” and an especially bouncy “Little Secrets.”

In fact, “Little Secrets” proved to be such a success that Angelakos euphorically lifted his entire keyboard and smashed it on the ground in triumph.

Had the Greek featured a roof, Passion Pit and the Joy Formidable might just have blown it off.

For more information, visit the official websites of Passion Pit and the Joy Formidable.

Passion Pit's Ian Hultquist.
Passion Pit’s Ian Hultquist.
Ritzy Bryan
The Joy Formidable’s Ritzy Bryan.
The Joy Formidable's Rhydian Dafydd.
The Joy Formidable’s Rhydian Dafydd.




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