Live Review: The Joy Formidable + Adwaith @ Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth (18/2/19)

Monday the 18th of February saw alt rock, post-punk, shoegaze, (whatever box you want to put this band within) band The Joy Formidable return to the Wedgewood rooms for the first time in six years. Support came from fellow Welsh band ‘Adwaith’, a band who I hadn’t heard of prior to the show but was intrigued by on the night. Singing a mixture of songs in both Welsh and English, the all-female group reminded me a bit of a Welsh Goat Girl, mainly with the song Osian. I enjoyed the set and certainly got into it more as it went along. It’s nice to see a band repping where they’re from as much and these ladies did and I think as they carry on writing new music and playing more shows then they have a really positive future within the music industry.

Then came The Joy Formidable. Opening with ‘Y Bluen Eira’ from their latest album ‘AAARTH’. It was the perfect track to set the mood for the rest of the gig and it certainly got the crowd excited for what was to come. The stage presence of this band is phenomenal and one thing I love is the inclusiveness of the drummer with both Ritzy (vocals and guitar) and Rhydian (bass and backing vocals), who often went and stood by the drummer clearly getting each other hyped up. The band played a good mixture of their most popular songs from their long discography of music and even did an acoustic(ish) version of ‘A Heavy Abacus’ which was executed very well. Interaction with the crowd from lead singer Ritzy was an add on which was pleasing to see and there were intervals within tracks in which she would have proper conversations with the audience about the band and what was going on within their lives. Rhydian and Matt (drums) also joined in with this. However, this did not interfere with the flowing of the set which is something The Joy Formidable are so well known for and they had definitely thought up a setlist in which tracks could smoothly go from one to another.

After ‘The Greatest Light Is the Greatest Shade’ the band stepped off stage to shortly return for an encore which included ‘The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie’ ‘Y Garreg Ateb’ and of course ‘Whirring’. My high expectations of how ‘Whirring’ would sound live were fully met and it was the perfect and only song to finish on. From the first note, it created electricity in the room and it’s safe to say the band were properly going for it. An excellent end to an excellent set and gig.

Words by Henry Wood

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