The Joy Formidable is a small band that plays big songs. Well, I say big—but let's go with gargantuan. Their arena-made dynamics cause nonstop comparisons to Muse, especially after their run opening for the Operatic Ones. That seems unfair, though, because the Joy Formidable has never once caused me to roll my eyes. Their second album, Wolf's Law, captures the essence of big UK rock (they're Welsh) with the propulsive, molar-jarring depth of My Bloody Valentine and guitar riffs that evoke Zeppelin at their nerdiest. The occasional dreamy shoegaze moment keeps things from getting too exhausting. Ritzy Bryan is the real deal—a rock 'n'roll frontwoman who sucks you close with her breathy voice, which somehow never gets lost beneath the wail of guitars. REBECCA WILSON
128 NE Russell, Portland, OR 97212
Hours: Ballroom open for events only, Cafe open: Tues-Sat 5 pm-"late"