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Johnny Foreigner @ Bodgea Social Club, Nottingham, UK, 22.04.11

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by Tom Baker

Note: my gin consumption prior to the start of this gig was entirely professional and undertaken in the name of research because Johnny Foreigner are big fans of that spirit.

I doubt if Johnny Foreigner would’ve survived their hour-long, perspiration-drenched set without any alcoholic assistance. By about the third song, singer/guitarist Alexei Burrows looks like he may go sliding off the stage with all the sweat lubricating him. JoFo don’t do anything by half measures.

Opening with an a capella rendition of ‘Johnny Foreigner Vs You’ – a track from their most recent EP, which was released via a frisbee. Seriously – is slightly misleading, since for the rest of the night the band play their faster-paced, most limb-flailingly intense songs, sending them our way with an enthusiam that belies their five years together.

The trick with JoFo is that they’re not just loud and fast. There is that initial rush of excitement the BPM gives, but there’s also the catchy call-and-response choruses. Beneath that, there’s the rhythm section of bassist Kelly and drummer Junior (the latter of whom sometimes switches to some 8-bit-alike Casio drums and keyboards). Beneath THAT, there’s the intricately dense, instantly relatable and increasingly self-referential lyrics.

Hey, they’re beginning to sound kind of like Birmingham’s answer to LCD Soundsystem! And perhaps they are. Let’s just hope they stick around a little longer.

P.S. We the crowd also helped the band record a video message to Wil Wheaton to try and convince him to participate with the band’s new album. Don’t get that with The Vaccines now do you?

Photography: Reuben Beer

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