Following the release of their debut single Hard To Love, Manchester-based band Better Joy embark on a string of UK tour dates, making a stop at Rescue Rooms for a stripped-back acoustic show. The band are best known for their delicate interweaving of contemporary and classic alt-pop, infusing their sound with uplifting melodies and introspective lyricism. We chat to lead-vocalist and songwriter Bria Keely about Hard To Love, touring, and the upcoming Nottingham show...
Hi Bria! How are you feeling ahead of this upcoming tour?
Hi!! So ready for it!! We’ve done a few gigs dotted around but this really feels like our first mini tour so it’s really exciting. Hopefully the start to many more tours too!!
What inspired you to decide to perform at Acoustic Rooms at Rescue Rooms in Nottingham?
I personally started out acoustically and often I write from scratch acoustically and build from there, so it just felt like a fab opportunity to show the songs in their bare form and allow the audience to dive into the lyrics and meanings of the songs without all the musical distractions.
What should people expect from your set?
It’s going to be intimate, personal and real! I love singing with just the guitar as I think there’s a lot more room for emotion which I find always helps people connect with the songs - I’m one emotional gal!! We’ve only done one other acoustic show so it’s a little treat for anyone who’s a fan of our music!
It’s going to be intimate, personal and real! I love singing with just the guitar as I think there’s a lot more room for emotion
How would you describe the band’s vibe for someone who perhaps hasn’t heard you before?
I’d say it’s crunchy, jangly, bouncy with a blend of melancholy and nostalgia. I also like to think it’s quite colourful!
Have you ever performed in Nottingham before? If you have, what memories do you have of previous times? If not, what are you most looking forward to about it?
This will be our first time!! My parents actually met at uni in Nottingham so I’m excited to go back to where it all began! Most looking forward to getting our tunes out to the people in Nottingham and chatting to them too!
You have just put out the acoustic version of your single Hard To Love. How do you feel this version differs from the original? Does it being acoustic bring out a different side to the track?
100% it brings out a different side of the track! It’s a much rawer performance and sound. For me, the stripped back and nakedness of it allows the song to breathe. It’s a lot more intimate than the original, less of a ‘dance around the kitchen’ vibe and more of a ‘play in the bath with a glass of wine and cry’ vibes. For me anyway ha!
You’ve had support from BBC Introducing. How important is that for an up and coming band?
To be recognised by BBC Introducing feels like one of the first big milestones for any new band as you just don’t know what can come from that kind of exposure! Firstly for us it was getting the opportunity to play at Band on the Wall for one of Manchester’s BBC Introducing showcases and next we were played on Jess Iszatt’s BBC 1 Introducing Show! Both of which were just a mad feeling and such an honour!
It’s a lot more intimate than the original, less of a ‘dance around the kitchen’ vibe and more of a ‘play in the bath with a glass of wine and cry’ vibes
Which other venues or cities are you performing in on the tour?
So Nottingham is the first one of the tour and the only acoustic one - a nice one to ease us into. We’ve got gigs in Hull, Huddersfield, Preston, Leeds, London and Manchester!
At the end of the tour, you’ve got a show coming up with The Rodeo Mag in Manchester. How are you feeling about performing in your hometown?
We’ve played two gigs in Manchester so far - this one’s definitely a big one! There have been some huge bands come out of Manchester over the years, so we’ve got some living up to do!
Finally, have you got anything else coming up in 2024 that you want to shout about?
Can't wait for my next single to come out, so keep your eyes peeled for that! It's a fave of ours!
Better Joy are performing at Acoustic Rooms on 29 January 2024
We have a favour to ask
LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?