As the band came out to the roughly forty or so fans that paid the extra for the VIP tickets bassist Rhydian Dafydd apologized saying they were trying to catch the returns on the UK general election and adding that it looks like they might be doing some heavy drinking tonight as it looks like we are going to have our own blond mop head running our country to which drummer Matt Thomas added grab the bottle of vodka from the ice box. Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan said they will try to not talk about politics to much tonight and they did just that. After chatting with fans for a few more minutes the band played ‘Y Golau Mwyaf yw’r Cysgod Mwyaf’ (The Greatest Light Is the Greatest Shade) sung in Welsh. Ritzy introduced the next song saying it was from back in the good old days of 2008 and was one of their first songs ‘Austere’ and joked that it was from a time before Mr. Thomas. After as Ritzy put it the closest thing to a Christmas song ‘My Beerdrunk Soul Is Sadder than a Hundred Dead Christmas Trees’, the band asked the fans what they would like to hear with several song names being shouted out someone yelled play some Echo and the Bunnymen, as the band had played ‘The Killing Moon’ in Chicago on a past tour. The band all said they wouldn’t be able to remember the words and joked around and lauged as they kind of half mumbled some words and they sang moon and said that that would probably be how it sounded had they attempted to play it. They settled on ‘While the Flies’ and closed the acoustic set with ‘Last Drop’.
When The Joy Formidable came on stage the crowd gave them a warm welcome. Ritzy greated the crowd and talked briefly about how this tour was for the tenth anniversary of ‘A Balloon Called Moning’ and would start the night off with playing it in its entirety from start to finish. Having seen the band five times prior to tonight it felt odd hearing ‘Whirring’ so early in the set as the song is normally used as the closing song for the main set at every show. For someone small in size Ritzy is a force to be reckoned with on stage as she bounces around occasionally pushing Rhydian or hitting Matt’s drum kit. Next up was ‘Y Bluen Eira’ (translates as ‘Blue Snow’), a song recorded and played in band’s native language of Welsh. Several times through the night Ritzy thanked the crowd for the support over the past ten years and at one point a fan yelled out you guys are just starting to which she said yeah that the first ten years is like a warm up and she is ready for the next ten year. Rhydian jokingly said it was the farewell tour. For a change of pace Ritzy and Rhydian changed vocal parts on ‘The Leopard and the Lung’ with Rhydian singing the lead. Before closing out the main set Ritzy mentioned that they had finally wrote a song for Mr Thomas as he believes he should have been in a funkier band like Earth, Wind, and Fire to which both Matt and Rhydian started to play a little funky jam before launching into ‘Caught on a Breeze’.
The band came back out for a three song encore starting with ‘Buoy’ to which Ritzy said she liked the way Americans pronounce it as it sounds wavy because the way they pronounce it it sounds like ‘boy’. The second song the band asked if they had anything they wanted to hear and several songs were tossed around until it was settled on an acoustic version of ‘A Heavy Abacus’. Before closing the night out Ritzy again thanked the crowd and mentioned they were going to Milwaukee next and several fans booed and she asked if it was a footie reason and said she did not know much about American sports but liked baseball and thought that hockey was hilarious. She then asked about a fans hat to which the fan replied Da Bears. Ritzy mistook it for bagers and the band ran with it calling them the Chicago Badgers and said she quite liked badgers but that Boras might kill them all off. Closing out the night with ‘The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie’ I still find the band as exhilarating as the first time seeing them and can honestly say that I believe this first ten years is just a warm up like Ritzy said and can’t wait to see whats next.
Genre-defying Nashville based band TWEN opened the night