The first band I see at Koko this evening are East Londoners ‘Flats’ who have provided support on all of the dates of the tour. Flats manage to successfully divide the audience into lovers and haters. Half of the audience detest their abrasive punk rock that’s delivered with typical punk arrogance whereas the other half pogo like nutters. Their set is brief though due to their songs all being under 3 minutes, so those that didn’t enjoy them were put out of their misery pretty soon. I found their set entertaining, but in the spacious decrotive surroundings of the KOKO, there swagger and energy was lost a little, stick them in sweaty basement and you could have one hell of an act on your hands.
Next up were fellow London boys ‘Chapel Club’ who present the crowd with an emotive set. They put their souls into it, and contrary to popular belief, were actually really great to watch. Their live performance provides focus on the beauty of their lyrics and proves that they have got some decent tunes under their belt. Highlights of the set were: all four singles (particularly the latest single ‘Five Trees’ and set closer ‘All the Eastern Girls’) as well as a new song entitled ‘Bodies’ which was utterly gorgeous.
The stage is scattered with bird cages filled with fairy lights and then the moment that the majority of the crowd has been waiting for arrives as The Joy Formidable take to the stage, lead singer Ritzy looking rather like an exorcised porcelain doll. Her lacy black dress, contrasting to her pale, snow white skin and bleach blonde hair. They head straight into ‘Spectrum’, an unusual choice as it’s a lesser known song. In fact, it’s not until, ‘The Greatest Light is The Greatest Shade’, which is the fourth song in that they play one of their ‘hits.’ They then carry on bashing out these hits, much to the audience’s pleasure before inviting Paul Draper to the stage to perform o0n ‘Greyhounds in The Slips.’ Next they dive straight into their Christmas song (oddly) ‘My Beerdrunk Soul is Sadder than a Hundred Dead Christmas Trees’ which was a lovely, more mellow moment of their performance. They close with crowd pleaser, ‘The Last Drop’ but then obviously, as headliners do, return to stage for an encore. Ritzy thanks the audience humbly and the band plunge into fan favourites ‘Whirring’ and ‘Cradle’ and the roof is raised, the atmosphere electric, the crowd buzzing. This is visual evidence that there are some very passionate Joy Formidable fans out there.
You can check out some highlights on the tour in the NME videos below. Or for more info check out nme.com.