Matthew Thomas, Rhydian Dafydd and Ritzy Bryan of the Joy Formidable have been on tour for the better part of 2013. July 10th brought them to Brooklyn, New York to play a special secret show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where Rolling Stone caught up with them and tagged along for the day.
After arriving in town from the previous night's gig with the Black Keys in Connecticut, the band needed some sustenance. Luckily there is no shortage of hip, healthy cuisine in Brooklyn.
Bassist Rhydian Dafydd takes it all in at one of the busiest areas in the borough, where Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues intersect.
Downtown Brooklyn is also home to the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets, so there is no shortage of Brooklyn gear to be found in the surrounding stores.
After temporarily decking themselves out in local fan gear, the gang needed something a little more familiar and headed over to Guitar Center, where Ritzy saw a few guitars she liked.
She settled on this fine Squire Strat, which Rhydian felt the need to immediately strip of whatever musical dignity it once had.
With Brooklyn's music scene so deep and diverse, it would have been almost impossible to not run into a friend made from touring the country. Team Spirit drummer Mike Addesso became that friend as he spotted the band walking down Atlantic Avenue. His band and the Joy Formidable shared some dates a few months back.
Before soundcheck, the group stops for a cool beverage and a few minutes out of the sun. Ritzy and Matthew choose to stay in the air-conditioned bar as Rhydian has a smoke outside.
The band fits seamlessly into the environment during their short stroll back to the venue for soundcheck.
The Joy Formidable have been on tour since January with only a week off, during which they went home to North Wales. Tour bus accomodations begin to feel like home – at least the AC works.
Rhydian, Ritzy and Matthew are interviewed on the steps of BAM by Rolling Stone. Check back for this interview on RollingStone.com.
As the band enter the venue for soundcheck, they see that the entire place has been decorated with images of wolves to celebrate their latest album, Wolf's Law.
The BAMcafé is usually a place for drinks before a show, but on this night the tables were taken out and the room was used to its full potential.
Being on tour can be a waiting game. Matthew and Rhydian take a quick nap while waiting for soundcheck to begin.
As the boys shut their eyes, Ritzy works on the set list for the night.
The blinds on the windows are drawn closed for soundcheck so that the lights can be tested as if it were the nighttime show.
The band pose for photos by the house photographer, Shahar Azran, after meeting Rolling Stone and Canon staff, who were involved in putting together the secret event.
The facade of BAM is lit up with wolf eyes and bright lights.
The band take the stage and the mayhem begins. Rhydian does his best to high five as many fans in the crowd as he can.
The stage is small. Each of them revels in being closer than usual to friends and bandmates.
In order to play fully acoustic, Ritzy and Rhydian jump into the crowd to sing their song "Silent Treatment" without mics or a PA to amplify their sound.
The band played for over an hour before packing it all up to head north for a day off before a show near Buffalo, New York.