Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Joy Formidable/A Place To Bury Strangers, March 14 at the Mayan

Carla knows people. She pays attention to blogs. She gets hook-ups. Unfortunately, the time when she got a lot of free tickets to shows was before we met but every once in a while it happens. I was expecting a quiet evening at home, and I was just settling into an afternoon nap on a day when I wasn't working, when she texted to ask me if I wanted to see the Joy Formidable that night. Exceedingly spontaneous plans usually make me uncomfortable but there's no sense in turning down a show, especially with a band I liked and one that put on such a great performance the last time I saw them. Apparently the show was originally planned for the Fonda but they changed to the Mayan when the Fonda had problems (none of which I followed, except that I know they finally changed back to the original and proper name of the place). Parts of the part of town where the Mayan is are getting nicer, and it’s better than it’s ever been, but the parking lots seem safe enough. For some reason we got there early enough (maybe because we couldn’t find set-times online and wanted to err on the side of caution) to see openers A Place to Bury Strangers. They’ve been on the periphery of my notice for a while but I’ve never pursued getting to them. I had an instant connection to the music which I couldn’t figure out at the time, until I realized that I always gravitate toward shoe-gaze noise-pop, British or otherwise, and those guys were it. The Joy Formidable were a force to be reckoned with, as always seem to be. It could be said that their performance was even more polished, but they were already more than good enough when we saw them at the El Rey, six months before. Much of their set-list was the same, though that could easily be forgiven since they only had a one full album and an EP's worth of material out (though they really could have gone as far as to play “Chapter 2” for me (especially if it included the typewriter part at the beginning)). They promised that they were going in to work on new material soon but played none of it. The band isn’t actually too far afield from the shoe-gaze sound, which has just become ingrained in a lot of modern rock music, even more impressive that it's made by only three members in the band.  It’s not often anymore that bands that are necessarily called indie bother to craft potential anthems with towering blasts of sound. Just the courage to do that, and do it well, could take these guys farther than anyone could have expected; if that band continues on their trajectory, that could become an even bigger show. At just the Mayan, with that monster wall of sound, it seemed more than big enough. It would have been a great show even if we’d paid for it.

The Joy Formidable’s set-list:

"A Heavy Abacus"
"I Don't Want To See You Like This"
"The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie"
"The Magnifying Glass"
"Greyhounds in the Slips"
"The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade"

"Silent Treatment"

A Place to Bury Strangers’ set-list:

"Onwards to the Wall"
"Ego Death"
"So Far Away"
"Far Too Long"
"Lost Feeling"
"I Lived My Life To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart"