“Everyone excited to see Faithless!?” Will Ritson cries out, his question met with predictable rapturous cheers, but tonight is as much about Formation as it is Faithless. Whilst the former do not have twenty years of dance floor hysteria on their side, they do have six months of non-stop festivals behind them and are now stepping out on to their biggest stage yet, Brixton Academy.
When it comes to supporting one of the biggest electronic groups in the world, Formation’s front man, Ritson, shakes off any suggestions of nerves or over-excitement. “It’ll be special” he admits, as the band can put themselves amongst a host of huge names who have played the iconic venue and because of the scale of gig, Formation may have just unintentionally gathered the biggest crowd of their career thus far.
Well over a thousand bodies have filtered into the venue by the time the synth-heavy five piece jerk the crowd into dancing mode with their latest track, ‘Drugs’. They follow up with familiar territory with jangly indie-pop tracks ‘Back Then’ and ‘Hangin’, both giving Ritson the excuse to clatter his favoured cow bell; a staple in the band’s seven song set. It’s ‘Pleasure’ and ‘Control’ though which turn them tribal, the thick sluggish bass proving that they’re a band ready to battle the bigger venues.
Final track ‘Ring’ is Formation’s very own ‘All My Friends’ (LCD Soundsystem) moment and builds up to a nostalgic climax. Ritson clambers on the drums and flings a stick into the crowd, nearly missing a girl stood at the barrier. He walks off stage after, chuckling: “She wanted me to apologise to her! I thought this was meant to be rock’n’roll!?” The next chapter in Formation’s live journey appears full of ‘Drugs’ and rock’n’roll so only common sense knows where they’ll end next.
Words by Josh Shreeve. Photos by Ethan Weatherby.