The Joy Formidable + Adwaith @ O2 Institute, Birmingham, UK – 21st February 2019

Review and photography by Robert Barrett

A slightly humid Thursday night was home to a tiny Welsh invasion in the O2 Institute’s third room. Rockers The Joy Formidable had returned to the venue nine years after playing it last.

Fellow Welsh rockers Adwaith were the support act for the evening. A broken tuning pedal caused some halts in the set, but the technical difficulties didn’t stop them. It seems like the band are getting some high end support, name dropping James Dean Bradfield who has remixed their single ‘Gartef’. What’s refreshing is they sing a lot of the songs in their native Welsh tongue. I can’t pretend I understood what they were saying, but it was refreshing to see a band stick to their roots.

The Joy Formidable have been on the scene for over ten years now. It almost seemed a shame to see them returning to such a small room after all this time, their large sound has always seen tailor made for bigger venues. However it didn’t seem to phase them as they were all smiles as they took to the stage. Ritzy’s vocals and guitar work was still as intense as ever as they started with ‘Y Bluen Eira’ the opening track to new album ‘AAARTH’. The band have always been a great live act, and it is still the case.

It still remained that the biggest response was for the tracks from the band’s debut album. Songs such as ‘Cradle’ and the wonderful acoustic version of ‘A Heavy Abacus’. Considering the explosion of sound on stage the majority of the audience remained quite static. It didn’t deter the band from delivering a blistering set.

The encore delivered fan favourites ‘This Ladder Is Ours’ and a raucous ‘Whirring’ full of energetic guitar playing from Ritzy. It felt at times like the stage was too small for the stadium sized tunes. Perhaps if the band return their Welsh invasion will be on a bigger scale.

(The original version of this article was first published on Gigjunkies

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