Say this for The Joy Formidable: they know how to end a song. And end it. And end it some more. In fact, if there were a Grammy for Best Song Ending, the Welsh power trio would own that category.
The beginnings and middles weren't too bad either at Stage AE Thursday night. The Joy Formidable, with a massive European alt-rock/shoegazer sound, could have been playing at the stadium next door.
Petite fireball Ritzy Bryan has a dynamic range that goes from sweetly lyrical (a little Sinead, a little Bjork) to full-on explosive, which is most of the time. There was no better showcase of that than the pairing of the fragile "Silent Treatment" with the ridiculously heavy "The Maw Maw Song," two highlights from the new album, "Wolf's Law."
Bryan handles the vocals while charging the sound with her simple but atmospheric guitar patterns. Bassist Rhydian Dafydd, who adds some nice vocal harmonies and keyboards, and drummer Matt Thomas (who had a gong and wasn't afraid to use it) are a muscular rhythm section that's quick to ignite.
In song after song, they dispensed with the actual song part and then proceeded to attack the riff and hammer it to pieces for another three minutes or more. It was hard to keep track. It got to the point where it was almost funny, though not in a bad way. I couldn't see their feet, but I'm guessing they were using loops in constructing these jams.
Stage AE was far from packed, as The Joy Formidable is yet to be a household name. The band could be just a catchy song or two away from taking its super-sized sound into arenas.