By: Derek Jung
The free summer concert series at Fountain Square, now rebranded as Indie Vol. 2016, has been one of my favorite parts of Cincinnati summers for the past few years. This past weekend, Welsh rockers The Joy Formidable took the stage to support the release of the their newest album, Hitch. Admittedly, I haven't kept up with the band's previous two releases since their great debut album The Big Roar (My bad, fellas). That being said, the lead single from the new album, "The Last Thing On My Mind", is pretty good, so I was looking forward to hearing some of the new material. Unfortunately for the band and everyone in attendance, crafting a good mix and being at all competent at running sound was the last thing on the crew's mind Friday night.
After the first song of the set, lead singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan complained of an annoying buzzing sound in the monitor. It was apparently so bad that the band exited the stage for over 10 minutes to allow the sound crew to try to fix the issue. This was after the band played an acoustic song and told an absolutely terrible duck joke to stall for time. The band was visibly peeved, and rightfully so, especially with the hard 11pm end time looming on the horizon that would inevitably shorten the band's set. This was an embarrassing showing for the Indie Vol 2016 crew, especially after upping the quality of bands playing this year. This isn't to say that they haven't had issues in the past. I've reported on several of them (See: 1, 2).
Once everything was back in order, the band returned to the stage, but even then the band was adjusting their monitor mix for a good majority of the rest of the set. The mix being heard by the crowd wasn't much better. Ritzy's vocals were hardly audible for much of the time, which was a bummer because I've always been a fan of her voice. This wasn't fixed until the last two songs of the set, one of them being my personal favorite "Whirring" from The Big Roar.
For all of the issues on the night, the band was surprisingly energetic once they got going. The crowd, besides those closer to the front, did not share the same enthusiasm, so the energy came entirely from within the band. You have to respect a band that is able to salvage bad circumstances outside their control.
The final sequence of "Whirring", which includes a nice breakdown, found Ritzy giving her guitar to the front row and letting them strum whatever noises they wanted on it. One of the "noisemakers" passed Ritzy's pick to her boyfriend as a keepsake, all captured on the big screen tv above the stage (Yes, we all saw it, honey). Subsequently, drummer Matthew James Thomas, in a perfect embodiment of the evening, threw his gong mallet across the stage in an attempt for the "final blow" of of the set. He missed miserably to which Ritzy, who commented during their unsuccessful comedy set earlier that they were not allowed to curse, said, "fuck it".
Check out the band's new album, Hitch on Spotify.
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary (debatable) guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here: