Tag Archives: The Joy Formidable

13 for 2013: Our most anticipated films, music, gaming, technology and cyberculture | Entertainment | This Is Entertainment

The fun and games of 2012 is behind us, so it’s time to stop doing Gangnam Style, put down your ‘New’ iPad and think about all the exciting things which will clamour for both your attention and your wallet this year. Here are 13 things we are really looking forward to:

  1. Ingress (Available Now)

Screenshot_2013-01-03-07-50-32It might seem strange to start with something which you probably haven’t heard of, but its mysterious nature is what makes it interesting. Currently search giant Google is beta testing an augmented reality app, which calls for users to investigate the world around them using their phone as a scanner.

Using the software from the Google glasses demo released last year, the team have come up with a narrative based around CERN’s Higgs Boson experiment. To request an invite for the beta go to the Ingress website (but expect to wait a few weeks). Expect more on the site in the coming months as we delve deeper into the mystery.

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  1. DmC: Devil May Cry (11 January)

dmcWhile the obvious candidate for the crown of ‘anticipated game of the year’ is Grand Theft Auto V, we decided to avoid tackling Rockstar’s media-teasing monstrosity and talk about some of the smaller hitters, beginning with DmC, a reboot of Devil May Cry.

Danté is back, now with a harcore-fan-outraging new look, and a more user-friendly play and combat style. Developers Ninja Theory haven’t held back in taking the series’ ingredients and throwing them in a blender to make a more dynamic and edgy game, not that it’s tricky to make a demon hunter who is half angel and half devil look edgy. What we’ve seen so far looks impressive, though the team have an uphill struggle to convincingly gain ground in the third person slash-’em-up arena.

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  1. The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law (21 January)

Wolf's LawAfter a stunning debut album from the Welsh three-piece, they are due to strike back this year with their second album. The band perform amazingly well live, and their songs have that element of originality mixed with a few familiar pop tricks which make them compulsive listening.

Lead vocalist Ritzy’s voice is immediately striking and the synergy in the group is second to none. First single ‘The Ladder is Ours’ picks up where the first album left off and drives the band’s music forward. Expect some well received live performances on the back of this CD later in the year.

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  1. Bad Religion – True North (22 January)

True NorthHardcore punk rockers Bad Religion continue to churn out albums at an alarmingly consistent rate and this latest effort is looking to be no exception. First single, ‘Fuck You’, has all the uncompromising energy and attitude you could expect from a punk band who have been making music for over 30 years.

Title track ‘True North’ reveals more, and gives a sense of the overall tone of the album itself, somewhere between the blisteringly quick songs of early days with albums like Incomplete and the philosophy of The Process of Belief.

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  1. Windows Surface Pro (28 January TBC)

Windows Surface ProWe’ve already waxed lyrical about Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8, and what more could you want? Windows 8 in a handy portable package of course. The RT version of the Windows Surface tablet has been out for a few months and has sold “modestly”, but many IT enthusiasts are holding off for the full ‘Pro’ version, which runs standard windows programs as well as Windows‘ own tailor-made apps.

With boosted specs and plenty of positive reviews of the RT version already circulating, this could be the technology purchase of the year (well it’s less likely to be replaced in a few months like a new iPad might in any case).

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  1. New(ish) gaming IPs: Remember Me (May 2013) and South Park: The Stick of Truth (March 2013)

Remember MeDespite the Xbox 360 nearing the end of its life (see point 11), there are still new IPs coming to the console which look promising. South Park: The Stick of Truth, though not entirely new since it is based on the South Park cartoon series, is the first which cartoon creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been directly involved with throughout (reportedly because they were sick and tired of bad South Park games). The game riffs on the classic staples of turn-based RPGs and is sure to have plenty of the sort of laughs and cultural references the TV show is known for.

Remember Me is Capcom’s take on manipulating reality by changing people’s memory in the near future. The game features a protagonist called Nilin, a ‘memory hunter’ who has lost her own memory and is on a quest to get back what she’s lost, while forcing people to kill themselves through memory manipulation along the way. The game is being handled by newcomers Dontnod Entertainment, but reception to the game so far has been promising, so hopefully this won’t be a case of all shine and no substance like fellow near-future jaunt Syndicate was last year.

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  1. Star Trek into Darkness (17 May)

Star Trek into DarknessZachary Quinto and Chris Pine reprise their roles as Spock and Kirk as we go Star Trekking once again, this time with the help of Sherlock Holmes, well, Benedict Cumberbatch. Star Fleet is under direct attack this time around, and Cumberbatch, who plays an unknown character who may or may not be linked to classic Trek film The Wrath of Khan‘s Khan.

The first teaser trailer shows all the destruction and drama you have come to expect from J.J. Abrams’ reboot, and with the acting talent in the mix it would be difficult to not make this the cinematic spectacle of the year. At least unless a bunch of superheroes turn up…oh…

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  1. Man Of Steel (14 June)

Man Of SteelZack Snyder directs the latest in a long line of Superman films, but this time, for the first time ever, Superman himself is British. Jersey-born Henry Cavill, who you may have seen in The Tudors TV series or 2007’s Stardust, dons the red boots in a familiar tale, retold.

Not much to get excited about you might think? But with Christopher Nolan on Producer duty, the studio must be keen for some of his success with The Dark Knight Trilogy to rub off on Man Of Steel.

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  1. Comic book films return (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (4 Oct USA), Kick-Ass 2 (19 July), Thor: The Dark World (Nov 8), Iron Man 3 (26 April), The Wolverine (26 July))

Christopher Mintz-Plasse in Kick-Ass 2Superman isn’t the only superhero doing the rounds this year of course, there are a bunch of sequels on the way to astound and delight us all. Of these the most exciting is Kick-Ass 2, which sees Kick-Ass, Hit Girl and Red Mist all return, with original actors Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Morentz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, for another round of crude and comic caped action.

This time Red Mist is seeking revenge, as teased at the close of the first film and Jim Carrey also makes an appearance as Colonel Stars and Stripes. With so many dark and ‘mature’ style superhero flicks flying around it’s good to have something like this as an antidote.

(No Kick-Ass 2 trailer just yet I’m afraid, but Iron Man is shaping up nicely too).

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  1. Reading Festival 2013 (23-25 August)

Reading Festival 2012With organisers Festival Republic kicking off the hype train early this year, we already know that Eminem will be one of this year’s Reading Festival headliners. Also in the mix are Alt-J, Deftones and Sub Focus.

The event always pulls in some of the greatest acts in the world for the year and the atmosphere is difficult to beat for a full weekend festival. Plus following the re-jig and re-brand last year things will be running even more smoothly, leaving more time for drinking and moshing than ever before.

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  1. The next Xbox (Q4 TBC)

The next Xbox?The Xbox 360 has now been on shop shelves for seven years, with hardware older than that, and in some places it’s beginning to creak at the seams. The lack of big game release dates after May this year leans heavily towards a hardware reveal at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, after a decidedly by-the-numbers affair last year.

The gaming community are beginning to cry out and despite manufacturer Microsoft’s claims in 2010 that the console was only half way through it’s life cycle, the clock is ticking. The time makes sense for the company too, since they won’t want to risk falling behind rival Sony‘s next release, which is still unannounced.

At present no concrete news has come out about the next Xbox console, despite rumours being rife, but whatever happens it is likely to slot effortlessly into its parent company’s efforts with Windows 8. The question is, will they strike while the iron is hot?

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  1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (13 December)

The Desolation of SmaugAfter the success which Peter Jackson had with the first instalment of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, we have our fingers firmly crossed he can keep up the momentum for a further two films. The subtitle for this year’s film, The Desolation of Smaug, would suggest this is the chapter in which Smaug is vanquished, but what does that leave for film three?

The multi Oscar-winning director is doing it for the love at this point, so it’s hard to see him making a misstep at this stage, but the real draw for this next film is the returning cast, all of whom shone in part one. How can you say no to more Gandalf?

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  1. The digital entertainment tipping point (TBC?)

The final point in our list is more speculation (speculation you say? On a blog? Outrageous!) around the subject of digital distribution. It might not be something to look forward to if you are keen on polishing the boxes on your CD shelf, but the digital revolution is happening right now. In music in particular the market is struggling to cope, as consumers begin to buy songs online through the likes of iTunes more and more.

The BBC recently reported that in 2012 CD sales fell by 11.2% overall, with sales of physical copies down 20% to 69.4million, compared to a rise or 14.8% for digital, bringing its total up to 30.5million. Surely the day we see digital in the majority isn’t far away?

In gaming and films too things are changing, as more people stream or watch films online, sometimes through games consoles, and various on demand services such as Netflix providing access to thousands of films without the bother of popping down to Blockbuster. Games on demand on Xbox remains uncompetitively priced, but avenues such as Valve’s Steam platform are proving more popular than ever before.

The interconnected nature of technology is making viewing entertainment easier every year and this year could be the time when we start to see the digital future really come into its own.

A Digital FutureJames Michael Parry

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Reading Festival 2012 Review | Music | This Is Entertainment

This year’s Reading line up promised much, with an impressive mix of musical styles – from the gritty, political hardcore of Enter Shikari to the cheerful pop punk of All Time Low – and a range of decades well represented, but how did it all hold up in practice? This Is Entertainment investigates.

Friday

With the weather threatening to turn the following day, festival-goers made the most of the weather, (the amount of denim shorts apparently eating themselves was particularly worrying), luckily the music kicked off proceedings in style.

Although there was an impressive show from Coheed and Cambria and Angels and Airwaves on the main stage, the first major “did you see” moment of the festival was gifted to stylish power-pop of Swedish legends The Hives, whose infectious hits quickly had the crowd jumping, screaming and disco-ing.

The group’s usual mix of arrogance and insanity was there, particularly from frontman Pelle Almqvist, who at one point presented the crowd with “your national anthem – it is an Olympic year after all” before breaking into fan favourite ‘Hate to Say I Told You so’.

Sporting top hats and coat tails, the band made an impression visually as well, at one point unanimously stopping dead, leaving the audience to applaud five statues. A prime example of why The Hives remain a must-see live despite their more lacklustre album performance of late.

Friday’s Lock Up Stage roster might not have had the usual amount of big names, but the bands still pulled together to deliver a fantastic show, particularly Bouncing Souls, who nailed hit after hit as well as effortlessly sneaking in tracks from their latest effort Comet.

As night fell Paramore‘s Hayley Williams drifted off stage after an accomplished set, promising they would be returning soon with a new album, having “locked up the studio to come here.” With that the stage was set for possibly the most understated performance of the weekend.

Headliners, ’80s legends The Cure, had little in the way of stage presence, despite an impressive light show, but it didn’t matter. Lead vocalist Robert Smith, who still stacks up incredibly well against his younger self, admitted towards the end of the set that “it’s even hard to talk to you to explain why I don’t talk – after 33 years”.

The years of experience showed through with the music though, which featured every song the crowd could demand and more. A slow start gave way to hits like ‘InBetween Days’, ‘Just Like Heaven’ and ‘Friday I’m in Love’, to which Smith commented: “At least it’s the right day!”

Saturday

Day two is traditionally ‘the indie day’ but in 2012 the peaceful morning was invaded by none other than former Main Stage headliners Green Day. The American idiots performed an hour long set in what Billy Joe Armstrong called “The best worst kept secret in the UK right now.” As ever, the band didn’t disappoint, and for those who were up early enough to enjoy it, put on a crowd-pleasing spectacle which immediately bumped up the energy levels for the rest of the day.

Mystery Jets had the crowd singing along early on in the day with hits like ‘Serotonin’ and there was a curve ball in the form of OFWGKTA, whose hip hop beats threatened to write off the Main Stage for the afternoon. With so many different stages to choose from though (six this year in all), you are never far away from an alternative.

Enter Shikari quickly restored the balance though, delivering a concentrated dose of attitude to mark their fourth Reading appearance in a row. New album tracks like ‘Warm Smiles do not Make You Welcome Here’ and ‘…Meltdown’ blended in with tried and tested classics like ‘Juggernauts’ and ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’, but there was a disappointing lack of ‘Solidarity’. The group were awarded Best Performance of the festival by NME and it’s easy to see why, with the band clearly stepping things up from 2011 and having the most balanced sound to boot.

Bringing in the evening were Canadian rockers Billy Talent, who gave the crowd exactly what they wanted – a combination of tried and tested festival main-stays as well as teasing two tracks from their new album, Dead Silence.

Over on the Festival Republic stage, there was a showcasing of British talent both young and old. Watford punk rockers Lower Than Atlantismade a strong impression, particularly with an impromptu cover of Foo Fighters’ ‘Everlong’ and ‘The Pretender’. Next High Wycombe’s Young Guns drew a strong crowd, helped out by the sudden downturn in weather, and kept hold of them throughout with a set which relied heavily on critically acclaimed debut album All Our Kings Are Dead.

Headlining the tent were pop legends Feeder, whose set spanned the three decades of their career with a sublime mix of old and new tunes. The trio, particularly leading man Grant Nicholas, were humbled by the crowd’s response and were genuine in their admission that the return to Reading had taken too long “but it’s good to be back.”

At the same time the mighty Kasabian, who were confined to the Radio 1 stage back in 2005, had the entire festival field singing along with their pop-friendly hits, epitomised by attendees’ relentless chanting of their #3 hit ‘Fire’ for the rest of the weekend. The songs and the spectacle were there and the band succeeded in appealing to both new fans and die-hards alike, developing a real party atmosphere in the crowd.

Sunday

Everything about the weekend’s final day was dominated by the return of Foo Fighters, who were set to fill the closing evening’s historic overly-long set, but before that there was a whole afternoon of build up.

The excitement really got going with Eagles of Death Metal, who brought rock ‘n’ roll back to the Main Stage with an appropriate ceremony of guitars and howling vocals. The music then took a more electronic turn with a lot of crowd chatter for Django Django, before The Gaslight Anthemand All Time Low really turned up the fun factor for the weekend with some pop/punk, a role usually filled by the likes of Bowling for Soup or NOFX.

All Time Low in particular had the crowd singing and dancing along well above their place on the bill, not to mention having underwear thrown their way – only to be hung as a flag of honour on the microphone stand. The crowd responded to a loving rendition of Blink 182’s ‘Dammit’ and it was clear even those who hadn’t heard the band before quickly had All Time Low on their ‘one-to-watch’ list.

TIE favourite The Joy Formidable performed to their usual high standard in the Radio One tent, forcing a difficult choice for many on who to see in what was one of many severe clashes at this year’s event.

Kaiser Chiefs served as the first real warm-up/support act for the evening’s proceedings, performing all their hits with energy and verve – undoubtedly more confident since the groups participation in the London 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremony.

The Black Keys were quieter, more measured musicians, who slid through their back catalogue in a more laid back fashion. The band clearly had a good time though, and this transferred to the audience in the form of some enthusiastic singing and dancing.

All paled in comparison to the Foo Fighters though. Despite the weight of expectation and anticipation from the crowd, Dave Grohl and co. didn’t disappoint. The show was a deeply personal offering, with Grohl frequently dedicating songs and speaking to the audience about his love of Reading Festival, beginning with “Honey, I’m home.” as the band walked on stage.

The music choices for the night showed how wide an audience the band have attracted, with the majority of the crowd raising their hands when asked if they had never met the Foo Fighters before. Conversely, the band offered up over half a dozen songs from the bands self-titled debut album – despite being almost 20 years old and largely unknown.

The skill and energy of the band remains undeniable though, with Grohl’s effortless charisma carrying the crowd through the evening, but it’s drummer Taylor Hawkins who really stands out. Hawkins not only sings his own Foos tune ‘Cold Day in the Sun’, and provide vocals on other songs, but also takes a moment to praise Grohl as the reason the band is there, calling him a musical genius.

With hits like ‘All My Life’, ‘Monkey Wrench’ and ‘These Days’ going down like a storm, it’s difficult to argue. The crowd were ecstatic and hung on Grohl’s every word, singing their hearts out way back from the stage, bringing everyone together and creating a real family atmosphere.

‘Everlong’ brought the night to a close with a literal bang as fireworks scorched the sky to see the band off. There may have been other bands who have made more dramatic endings to this festival, but there are few who can boast to have done it with such heart.

2012 was the year which marked This Is Entertainment’s 10th Reading Festival (read all about that in a future post), and it proved to be a collection of the greatest things the event has to offer. From surprise sets, cover songs and over-the-top showmanship – 2012 had it all.

So what is there left for 2013? If current form is anything to go by, we are in for a treat.

James Michael Parry

Music | Live review: The Joy Formidable – Factory 7, London – 02-03-12 | This Is Entertainment

Acoustic sets are usually a gimmick or a cheap trick at gigs, something to fill out the time while seemingly doing as little as possible. This isn’t always true of course, and there’s nothing like an acoustic set for intimacy. The Joy Formidable set the scene sublimely with their ‘campfire’ moment and took the concept to a whole new level, playing out their finest moments as the crowd swayed along peacefully just inches away.

All of this was only a warm up though, and the best was yet to come. The Joy Formidable are somewhat out of step with their contemporaries in that they don’t sound quite like you think they should. Every time you think you have their sound pinned down, they throw in a bit of electro or a bit of folkiness or even heavier rock to confuse you.

Ending up somewhere between the upbeat rhythms of Blondie, and not just because of blonde-haired frontwoman Ritzy Bryan, and the melodic pop of Ellie Goulding. Luckily the mix translates well on stage, and the crowd are quickly stirred into an uproar as the band begin to fire out tracks like ‘I Don’t Want To See You Like This’ and ‘Austere’, building to the epic ‘Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie’.

Ritzy’s tortured expressions as her crisp, clean voice fill the room (or, in this case, shed), hint at the passion and enjoyment she takes from performing. Her fellow band members Rhydian Dafydd (bass) and Matt Thomas (drums) share her enthusiasm and all three throw themselves into the musical sections with their entire bodies and then become suddenly subdued as the anarchy calms down again.

Even with a captive crowd at the event, the audience were drawn into the band’s spectacle, joining in with their easily followed melodic moments and listening intently as the band teased with new material – reportedly all recorded but not yet mixed, suggesting a release may be due later in the year.

The combination of energy and simplicity through the set was relentless, leaving a sharp intake of breath from onlookers as the band teased with the traditional encore. The finale itself brought the evening’s energy to an absolutely nuclear climax, to the extent that the stage took some punishment in the fallout. Cymbals and drums were strewn across the stage as Thomas exploded with energy in the final moments.

A convincing performance which mixed a considered approach, commonly found in bands with far more experience, and anarchic energy of youth to create a captivating display, which undoubtedly left them wanting more.

Rating: 4/5

This review is courtesy Music-News.com, you can find the original post here.  Check out the This Is Entertainment Facebook page and you’ll find over 100 pictures from the gig for your delectation and even a video.

Gig hosted by Clarks Originals: http://www.clarksoriginals.com/

James Michael Parry