If Life Is Beautiful lacked one thing at its inaugural edition, it was noise. You know, the kinds of gloriously edgy sounds Allen Stone, Vampire Weekend and Imagine Dragons don’t make. We’re talking fuzzy guitars and feedback, and maybe somebody with a voice that wouldn’t make it past the American Idol judges.
Sunday night at the Huntridge Stage, we finally got a taste of what we were missing in the form of Welsh trio The Joy Formidable. At Coachella or FYF, the band might come off poppy in comparison to other left-of-center acts on the bill (see: Grinderman, My Bloody Valentine, etc.), but at LIB, The Joy Formidable produced the kind of wicked racket I’d been yearning for all weekend.
Opening and closing with two of their best songs, “This Ladder Is Ours” and “Whirring,” respectively, singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan, bassist Rhydian Dafydd and drummer Matthew James Thomas rocked with intensity for their full 45 minutes, producing some of the festival’s most deafening jams in the process.
Here’s hoping LIB’s booking team saw—and more importantly, heard it—too, so that next year’s lineup might feature a few more gnarly musical weeds sprinkled among its pretty flowers.