The Joy Formidable,
St Paul's Church, Cambridge, 12.2.11
I don't go to so many gigs these days, apart from my own of course. Maybe it's my age, my studied lack of cool or my inertia, or more credibly I could blame the hours spent recording and mixing bands in the Big Badger Music Shack, the demands of fighting the far right and the time it takes to prepare my punk rock agit prop school and guitar lessons. Whatever, I don't go to so many gigs these days.
So when I do get to a gig, what a joy that it's one like this. Held in the heart of a large and atmospheric Church, complete with crucifix and organ, the whole event is defiantly special. Despite the cavernous spaces of the venue, the sound is mesmerising, acerbic, swirling, hypnotic, melodic and soulful it's fortunate that it is so absorbing, as the band seem to be playing in a deep pit (maybe a baptismal pool?) and are so invisible to all but the front row. Despite this they have the devout attention of the sold out crowd, some of who stand on pews, pulpits and even a ladder (who brings a ladder to a gig?) to get a better view. Such was the commanding yet invisible presence of singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan that when she calls on the crowd to sit down so that everyone can see, her words are heeded and the Church is filled with stooped figures who could easily have been prostrate on prayer mats, worshipping their idols.
The entire set was met with an ecstatic euphoria which even the band noticed was approaching ecstasy, leaving the congregation converted, devoted and yearning for more.
I should try to go to more of these gig things.
Thanks to Lewis at Loudhailer PR for sorting me out.