The Joy Formidable, The Howling Bells, Two Skies

Luke Hannaford 14/03/2009

You'd expect Two Skies to be in with their native Sheffield indie scene. Lead singer, Dan, gave it his best vocally with Stars for Icarus. I think they can improve but they are worth a listen. The Magi, are another small band from Sheffield - not sure what was going on here as soon as they appeared on the stage the crowd were booing them off! I think the crowd were right as none of their songs stood out to me. Instead I just popped off for a quick drink.

The Joy Formidable were a highly anticipated band of the night. People in the crowd were amazed to see lead vocalist Ritzy appear on stage in the flesh! They have had quite a lot of media attention since playing at Latitude festival last year, and they even gave their album away for free as download. TJF are originally from Wales but are now based in London. There have been quite a lot of bands from Wales hitting the spotlights but TJF have really shown their colours. Or maybe it's Ritzy's beady eyes enticing everyone to like their music? Nevertheless the crowd were buzzing as TJF played their first set, wow! Seriously this has to be one of the best bands of 2009! And it wasn't down to the other bands being poor in performance making TJF sound good. Howling Bells were the main act but TJF certainly stole the night for me. At one point it felt like I was watching Alice in Wonderland but with guitars - the clothes Ritzy was wearing reminded me of the film. Hearing Cradle live was definitely the best moment of the night as it had the crowd singing along whereas with the previous bands, the crowd didn't really join in.

Howling Bells were up next but could they win back the audience after such a compelling performance from TJF? Lead singer Juanita Stein came on to the stage appearing as if she had just got out of bed wearing only a shirt. Introducing themselves and thanking TJF for supporting them, Juanita Stein announced that TJF were 'Totally Rad'. Juanita said that she usually comes into the crowd to play a song and everyone was quite stunned as she hopped down from the stage with the mic and came around the barrier starting to sing in with the crowd. I really enjoyed listening to 'Into the Chaos' and 'Cities Burning Down'. I wouldn't say they were indie pop but more ambient soul with Juanita's vocals. They definitely changed the mood of the night after an exhilarating performance by TJF. Overall they played a good set and were pleasing to hear live.