KEXP at SXSW, Day 2: The Joy Formidable

photos by Jim Bennett

Three-piece The Joy Formidable are bringing their noisy indie rock to KEXP’s SXSW showcase, and it’s an event few want to miss. The band’s been making headlines since 2008, but it took another three years for a proper album. Judging by their past material and phenomenal stage presence, the wait’s been worthwhile. The Big Roar garnered immediate critical acclaim, fusing scuzzy guitars with dreamy vocals that crackle and crash against each other like waves on the shore. At times reminiscent of shoegaze gods My Bloody Valentine or a dreamier Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the group is spurred on by outstanding vocalist Ritzy Bryan, who can deftly switch from a sultry murmur to rousing yell mid-line. It’s her talent that gives The Joy Formidable their big, catchy, shouted choruses, and that’s their biggest draw. They don’t do “small,” and their onstage energy would overflow even an arena. At the same time, they can make a small space like the floor of Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop during KEXP’s broadcast from SXSW seem like a giant arena. Check out the photos from their blistering set here:

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