Concert Review

The Joy Formidable & Fang Island at Cat’s Cradle, 9/28/11

The poetic guitar riffs of Fang Island resonated through the air and walls of Cat’s Cradle as we (Da Bear, Hot Tamale, MayDay, and Sarahnade) rolled up to the club. The energy of Fang Island was contagious, as the crowd danced and continuously banged their heads. Fang Island consists of three electric guitar players, a drummer, and bassist. Their skill on guitar was evident as they passed the lead lines from player to player, each player equally capable of shredding on guitar at incredible rates. The crowd responded most vehemently when the band broke out into their song “Daisy.” They were a great opening band to prepare the crowd for The Joy Formidable.

The Joy Formidable, hailing from Wales, contains only three members but their stage presence and performance was not indicative of this basic setup. The front woman, lead vocal, and electric guitar, Ritzy Bryan, was seemingly innocent and coy when not playing but turned into a fierce and erratic musician upon the start of the first song. With wide eyes she communicated intensity to the crowd. Their music was surprisingly thick and layered for a three-person band. It was all encompassing but not overwhelming.

The largest reaction from the crowd came during “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade.” They continuously made strong efforts to connect with the audience and were very appreciative of the support given. The concert gained momentum throughout and finally climaxed during the last song in a whirl of energy including thrown drum sticks, distorted guitars, and a semi-destroyed stage. The crowd brought them back on for an incredible encore of one last 10-minute song. When finished the band and crowd seemed truly exhausted and satisfied by the inconceivable performance.

Da Bear, Hot Tamale