Wales’ infectiously noisy The Joy Formidable were last seen in town at the Verizon Center (opening for Foo Fighters) and headlining the 9:30 Club. But for their fall U.S. mini-tour, they chose a number of smaller, nontraditional venues, and so it was that they sold out St. Stephen’s Church for a Positive Force D.C. benefit show Saturday night. The bells and whistles from their headlining tour—-the giant banner, the lighthouse, the gong—-were nowhere to be seen, but the band’s spastic stage presence and overall intensity were in full force (and despite being in a church, frontwoman Ritzy Bryan wasn’t shy about dropping F-bombs).
The band played a number of songs from The Joy Formidable’s second full-length, Wolf’s Law, to be released in January. Aside from the ballad-like “Silent Treatment,” it appears that fans need not worry about either a major stylistic shift or a drop in quality of songwriting. The band will embark on yet another U.S. tour shortly after the release of this new album, and they left the stage last night saying, “We’ll see you again in March”—-to the same raucous applause they’d been getting all night.