The Joy Formidable’s singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan has got to be the best in shape band in Austin this week at the annual South by Southwest music festival. The blond firecracker works the stage with such reckless abandon and spunk that she even gives photographers in the pit a workout trying to keep up.
The Welsh alt-rock trio was one of the SXSW darlings that came out of the annual Austin music festival two years ago when they released their debut The Big Roar. From the audience’s reaction to the late-afternoon pulverizing set they put on at the Waterloo Records stage, they’ll be making some of the SXSW “best of” lists again in 2013.
Bryan, bassist Rhydian Dafydd and drummer Matt Thomas began with a pair of tracks off their latest album Wolf’s Law — “Cholla” is a relentless assault that ebbs and flows on the wave of a fuzzed-out guitar riff while “This Ladder is Ours” features a beat that has earned comparisons to New Order.
The Big Roar’s closer “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade” followed next, finally offering Bryan a chance to catch her breath, as this cut starts off with less blister. While it eventually spirals into grunge and distortion, the sparse instrumentation on the intro really allows Bryan’s vocals to shine.
Wolf’s Law’s swaggering track “Maw Maw Song” fell in between two popular tracks off Big Roar – the dream-poppy “Cradle” and the emotive shoegaze anthem “Whirring.” The sonic journey of the set closer got the extended treatment as Bryan jumped down into the photo pit, high fived the crowd with her Fender Stratocaster and then returned to the stage for another rousing 90-seconds that concluded after she twice slammed the guitar on Thomas’ cymbals and then tossed it to the ground.
Even after walking off the stage, the feedback continued for another 30 seconds until a tech unplugged finally unplugged the gear.
Folks will be talking about this performance for much longer than that.
Pre-order the new album here.
“This Ladder is Ours”
“The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade “
“Maw Maw Song”