I have a problem with reviewing gigs at Cardiff Barfly. It’s called Red Stripe. I means I only ever remember the first two thirds of any gig at the venue.

I’ve reviewed Baddies before and wasn’t overly complimentary. There’s nothing bad or evil about them, they play that kind of post punk well, they have the odd catchy tune and as a support they do their job of warming up the crowd rather well. They even acknowledge this themselves. I’m just not sure they have the originality to get any bigger than than they currently are. On different songs they sound like The Knack, The Futureheads but as my gig going colleague remarked ‘aren’t clever enough to be Talking Heads’. The matching grey shirts done up to the Adam’s apple look like they’ve walked out of an open prison but hey, you have to have a look these days. After a few songs, conversation turned to how much the singer looked like Cardiff City midfielder Stephen McPhail.

The Joy Formidable are a different prospect altogether. Their star seems to be in the ascendency, you can’t open a magazine of webpage without seeing their name. This is pretty impressive seeing as you can only buy their debut album from their merch stand if you want to hold an actual, physical CD (as opposed to one of those ether based download thingys). Gigging, radio play and a clutch of 7″s have got them this far and tonight they play to a pretty much full Barfly.

I like this band because I like the bands that they probably like too.  The shoegaze of bands like Slowride And Mazzy Star soundtracked my late teens.  The Joy Formidable take this template and batter it into song shapes.  For all the shimmering guitar and thumping bass, you’re never very far away from a big chorus.  Singer Ritzy isn’t just a pretty face either, her glassy eyed stare into the audience probably doesn’t harm the band’s chances of making it big, rock is always thankful for a poster girl but her voice is perfectly suited to soar above the wall of noise.  Even more impressive seeing as she’s contributing to said noise by battling with her guitar at the same time.

This is the third time I’ve seen the band and they still seem to be improving. This must simply be down to confidence as they’ve been playing together as a band for a fair old time now. Let’s just hope the songs keep getting better and that the forthcoming album matches new single Popinjay.

After the gig it would appear that I warranted a fellow JCer to use a popular social networking site to proclaim me ‘a terrifying drunk’. My gig colleague left early to catch the last train and was promptly sick on it. Please Barfly staff, in future, do not serve us Red Stripe.

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