Johnny Foreigner If there was an ideal scenario for the brilliantly noisy Johnny Foreigner, performing to their hometown in the basement of Birmingham’s beloved “The Flapper” would certainly be it. Brimming to the edges with (mostly male) devotees, there’s an anticipated buzz around the venue as Birmingham’s own make their eagerly awaited homecoming.
Andrew McBurney Opening the show is apparent comedian Andrew McBurney, who only generates laughs from the male portion of the audience after spending the majority of his set digging at his ex-girlfriend.
Sonic The Comic Next up are Birmingham’s own Sonic The Comic; a duo who pleasantly describe themselves as ‘indie candy-pop’, and with a set as sickly sweet as theirs, the title could not be more accurate.
Radstewart Slacker-poppers Radstewart grace us with a confident and angst-ridden performance that readies the crowd ahead of Johnny Foreigner’s presence.
Johnny Foreigner As presumed, there’s a strong lean towards “You Can Do Better” (the band’s fourth studio album released on March 10th via Alcopop Records), though despite its recent release the crowd are keen to chant every last number back. There’s a Rock, Paper, Scissors standoff to decide which song from their back catalog is added to the set; “Salt, Peppa and Spinderella” or “Eyes Wide Terrified”. Whilst there’s a protest from the audience demanding that their hometown heroes play both of their old favourites, it’s “Salt, Peppa and Spinderella” that eventually wins the battle.
Johnny Foreigner “Our demographic is like the fucking rednecks of Birmingham” grins Alexei Berrow, lead vocalist and guitarist. The comparison is one that causes an array of playful heckles which soon turns into hysteria as “Candles” is introduced — a song that has not been performed in over five years. Other favourites include “Dark Harbourzzz”, “With Who, Who and What I’ve Got” and “Riff Glitchard”.
Johnny Foreigner Almost as if their spirited live performance isn’t enough, there are animated visuals being projected onto a backdrop; robots, Pacman ghosts and colourful imagery. “JoFo” aren’t a band who need to rely on production in order to gravitate an audience towards them (which is noted by the congregation of fans who have thrust themselves forward into the heart of it all), but it certainly does help.
Johnny Foreigner It’s a astoundingly colourful night that shows an indication of why their twenty-something year old fanbase keeps coming back, and who will undoubtedly continue to come back to cram themselves into basements for a rightful glimmer of hometown pride. Photographs by Daisy Blecker