The evening kicks off with solo artist Laura J Martin who, if be described in a few words would be whimsical, uplifting and innovative. She majestically blends the flute with keys and intriguing dainty instruments. Her performance sets a happy mood for the evening.
The Joy Formidable are one of those unsung bands that should be bigger than they actually are and going the scale of their songs suggests that too. Their presence together is charming, witty and full of passion. For just a three-piece they make quite the noise too. Singer Ritzy banters away with the crowd which frequently spirals into improv that have the crowd smiling from ear to ear. A brief moment sees the band teach us how rude it is to say Jellyfish in Welsh.
As the night plunders on the band play to top capacity. They cheekily tease each other on stage, kicking cymbals, poking chests, using drum sticks to play guitars. They dazzle us with it all.
Not long after the they leave the stage the crowd start shouting, stomping and demanding more songs but there’s a slight hitch. As the band in what they later refer to a Spinal Tap moment do is accidentally lock themselves backstage. Banging can be heard side of stage before someone helps them back in, albeit a bit later than planned, to perform the encore. It’s a funny moment and one that ironically matches their joyful personalities as a band.
Part of the night sees Ritzy and bassist Rhydian venture to the middle of the venue and play an acoustic number to an attentive crowd. The silence from everyone speaks volumes for the love and respect of this band.
For many fans tonight has been well worth the wait.
The Joy FormidableClwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff - February 22nd 2016
Photographer: Nadine Ballantyne