Live review: The Joy Formidable, Spring & Airbrake, Belfast

Saturday, May 29

Shuffling onstage amid a wall of ear-buggering feedback, London/Welsh trio [a]The Joy Formidable[/a] roll up their metaphorical sleeves and get straight down to slicing out huge slabs of suicide rock just like they used to make in the ’90s. Yeah, their sound borrows heavily from [a]Veruca Salt[/a] and the [a]Juliana Hatfield Three[/a]’s songbook (and true to such Yank leanings, they’re currently causing a buzz stateside), but the pure power-pop suss of [b]‘Cradle’[/b] and crowd favourite [b]‘Popinjay’[/b] ensures that there’s more to them than furious riffs and a frontlady who looks a little bit like (whisper it) Kim Gordon in her youth.

And while they’ve yet to unleash their debut offering proper (that’ll be happening later on in the year we’re reliably told), a respectable smattering of the crowd sing along to every word of EVERY song as the pit heroes at the front throw the kind of mad shapes you’d expect at a party round Leatherface’s gaff. [b]‘Austere’[/b] in particular (culled from their mini-album [b]‘A Balloon Called Moaning’[/b]) is a portent for the greatness to come and it boasts a sugar-sweet melody coupled with a riff fuzzier than a billy-goat’s bum. If Ritzy Bryan and co can make a record full of songs as good as that, then surely superstardom beckons. Either way, as it stands right now, we’re mad about the Joy.

[b]Edwin McFee[/b]