The Joy Formidable / A Place To Bury Strangers / Violens @ Terminal 5 3.28.12
eudemonia \yoo-di-MOH-nee-uh, noun:
1. Happiness; well-being.
As everything in the universe is interconnected, it was only likely this Dictionary.com Word of the Day would manifest in my inbox the morning after being consumed by the true happiness of seeing The Joy Formidable headline at Terminal 5.
Being early didn’t render us lucky this time around, the opening bands didn’t really tickle our fancy. Violens opened up the night with a post-punk set that reminded us of The Cure and The Stone Roses at times but didn’t rouse much from us besides being thankful that they didn’t blow incessantly. We can’t say the same about A Place to Bury Strangers. Despite having a pretty cool band name, the sensual assault they spewed was probably what being sucked into a black hole feels like. Literally, nothing short of torture, we were subjected to about half an hour’s worth of eardrum crushing distortion in the dark and blinding projector lights. It seemed as though no prayers could stop this mess soon enough. (Cheep’s Note: I realize this is quite strong and Neg-Nancy. Usually I’d rather just say nothing bad at all, just not our cuppa or whatever, but it had been a long time since I felt this uncomfortable and in turn pissed off at a band at a live show :()
Fortunately, order was soon restored by The Joy Formidable’s permagrin-causing raucous. If their live show is any indication, despite their heartbreak-driven songs, the Welsh trio is the happiest band in the world. They have the time of their lives on tour. The stage is their playground and head (guitar) mistress, Ritzy Bryan is the leader of the coolest gang on it. The rambunctious pixie ran around in her black peter pan-collared dress with her own crazy grin and her big blue eyes open wide, guitar strapped — when not thrown haphazardly on the stage to bang a gong — belting the contents of The Big Roar including faves “The Magnifying Glass” and “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade.”
Her irresistible charm extended to the mid-set stage banter. Excited and littered with characteristic F-bombs, Ritzy vocalized their gratitude, recounted their first performance in the city at T5 when they mistakenly thought the solid greatness of their sonic boom caused the crowd to part — in reality, it was just a bit of sick in the back of the room that disgusted everyone into scurrying to the sides. She even got playful with her bandmates. Bassist Rhydian Dafydd, who was celebrating his birthday, was awarded an “old fart” from her lips. As for drummer Matt Thomas, he got the school marm treatment, hands on hips, formal address and all, for playing with the soundboard while she spoke. Ms. Bryan apologized for their craziness explaining they had been holed up in a studio in Portland, Maine recording their second album (!!!). Trapped in snow and isolated from humans so long, she said, they started talking to the animals outside.
During the encore, for being such good boys and girls Rhydian and Ritzy played a new song from that album, the soft and lovely acoustic number “The Silent Treatment.” Soon, Matt returned, to everyone’s surprise, in a full red lobster costume to play us out with the epic bang of “Whirring.” Beginning with a beautiful harp intro courtesy of a special guest and ending with Ritz jumping down to the barricade to greet her loyal groundlings before heading off into the night.
After the show, faces hurting from smiling so hard the entire set, we rode this state of eudemonia into the rest of the night. Everything was just coming up Millhouse: we caught a cab in front of the venue (usually impossible) and found a place in Times Sq. that sells veg fare (unheard of). The joy was so overwhelming we almost imploded. Almost. Instead, we just went to bed grateful for the feeling. —Cheep (w/ shitty photo by Snail).