Joy Formidable

Big Hassle Media

Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable Headline at SOhO

London Indie Rock Trio Hit S.B. on Tuesday, September 13

It’s been a long and unconventional road for The Joy Formidable. Since forming in North Wales in 2007, the trio (made up of frontwoman/guitarist Ritzy Bryan, bassist/vocalist Rhydian Dafydd, and drummer Matt Thomas) has toured the globe many times over, been embraced by the likes of Dave Grohl, Passion Pit, and The Temper Trap, and garnered a devout and mighty fanbase that’s as strong stateside as it is overseas. Yet prior to this year, the band had only an EP (2008’s startlingly brutal A Balloon Called Moaning), a live disc, and a handful of singles to their name. On their “proper” debut album, The Big Roar, The Joy Formidable further stretch industry conventions: metal-esque blast beats and big, boisterous electric-guitar riffs mix and mingle with building and buoyant pop-rock anthems, all tied together by Bryan’s powerful, yet undeniably feminine, vocal leaps.

Born following the dissolution of Bryan and Dafydd’s former band, Sidecar Kisses, The Joy Formidable occupies a somewhat tough-to-pin-down spot in the musical lexicon — and, as Bryan puts it, that’s just how they like it. “Rhydian and I had just come out of a pretty miserable musical experience where everything was very much over-analyzed and there was a lot of bullshit and egos and trying too hard. When we left that, I think we were happy to have that sense of freedom — we weren’t preoccupied with the genre or where we would fit in.”

As such, The Joy Formidable’s live show has become a force to be dealt with in its own right. They play hard, loud, and fast, and embrace spontaneity and improvisation, and can just as easily start a dance party as they can a mosh pit. “We like the fact that every night is a new experience,” Bryan enthused. “There’s a very fine line between being a great live band and being so rehearsed and going through the motions, and we don’t want that to ever creep into this band. Without over-thinking it, we do as much as we can to keep people on their toes every night.”

The Joy Formidable plays SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) on Tuesday, September 13, at 8 p.m. Call 962-7776 or visit for info

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Biggest Storm Since 1/9 Approaching Santa Barbara

The storm system brings increased threat of flash floods and debris flows.

Jack Johnson Tours Montecito Disaster Area Ahead of Benefit Concert

Jack and Kim Johnson met with Bucket Brigade leaders to see the destruction firsthand.

Iron Chef Caused State Street Pedestrian Death

Famous Chef Larry Forgione charged with misdemeanor for driving into Gilbert Ramirez on February 24.

Lavagnino’s Sudden Victory

5th District supervisor a shoo-in as filing window closes; Gregg Hart also unopposed for 2nd District.

One Half of Old Town Streets to Get Sidewalks

Walkways planned for one side of Goleta neighborhood streets; parking, lighting talks at community meeting March 22.