The Joy Formidable Gorge Amphitheatre, George WA May 28
Published May 30, 2012Largely due to the unbridled charisma of lead singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan, the name of Wales-via-London's the Joy Formidable is a rare contemporary example of truth in advertising. Bryan acknowledged the nagging desire of four-day-old festivalgoers for a real shower as she challenged the crowd to do it one more time in the sun, and her ferocity in turn catalyzed the strength to rejoin the fray for the power trio's invigorating set of '90s alternative and metal dressed up as shimmering pop rock. Bryan is a salient presence, drawing on a life of extreme experiences as she wears the meaning of her lyrics on her elastic, earnest face. She moves like vanilla frosting, sweetly flowing about the stage with flourishes on the fringes, but she's no cream puff. At one point, Bryan kicked Matthew Thomas's drum kit and ended up toppling herself over backwards with her guitar, but she rolled back up smiling. Their impact was later palpable when Silversun Pickups mentioned them in a list of main stage performers, to which the crowd gave a bigger cheer than for Feist.