Words and images by Braden Fletcher
There’s something special about tonight. All three acts on the bill are fantastic and they’re in an equally brilliant venue. I arrive in perfect time to see opening act The Neat.
The Yorkshire band are starting to make a bit of noise and hype across the country and without so much as a debut album out, they’re doing quite well to keep it up. The four-piece storm through their material including In Youth is Pleasure and new single Hips, all with fast paced mastery. Their sound similar to that of Art Brut fused with the most experimental and fast paced Johnny Greenwood guitar parts is sure to gain them recognition in the new year.
Next up are Stagecoach. Bringing tropical style to an already loud mix of pop, rock and indie for some reasonreally works. Even more-so than their 4 EPs, the live show is a hell of a lot of fun, even with a crowd not yet completely familiar with their work. My highlights come in the form of Good!Great!Better!Best! and We Got Tazers! Apparently, I’m a sucker for exclamation marked tracks. I can see Stagecoach having a triumphant summer 2011 if they continue as they currently are. After a stage invasion in Stagecoach’s last track by all members of Johnny Foreigner for a chaotic, noisy and fantastic ending to their set, it’s time for tonight’s bill toppers.
By their standards, it’s been a while since Johnny Foreigner toured, but with changes behind the scenes, the trio have put out almost more every song they’ve ever written. Now with at least fifty new tracks in their arsenal, Johnny Foreigner really feel like a band that could pull out something random amongst the fan favourites at all of their shows (something the stadium fillers of the country should look into.) The set list is indeed mixed with tracks like Camp Kelly Calm and Champagne Girls mixed in with new songs like Harriet by Proxy and Tru Punx. Each different track has its own style as the band has changed over the last four years and adapted their styles with it. Early in the show, it becomes apparent that tonight, everyone in the building is up for it, and the ring of “Some summers, some summers” for Feels Like Summer is just the beginning. “Yr Life Is a Song BUT NOT THIS ONE” is one of the loudest chants I’ve heard from a London crowd in a long time and it just keeps getting louder.
With a more refined sound, Alexei and co have really smoothed up some of the rough edges in JoFo’s live show, whilst still keeping it right on the edge of chaos. Everything seems to be going perfect for this band tonight and as Salt, Peppa and Spinderalla plays, everyone in the room moves in manic unison. After all of this, the raw emotion of I’llChoseMySideAndShutUp Alright? really brings everything down to earth. Just one emotional line in Every Cloakroom Ever, “Don’t doubt your worth” seems to sum up the whole night. So much amazing music fit for a venue much bigger than this. Still, all those present are lucky to have seen what they have and as Stagecoach return the favour of crashing the party during the routine set closer The Coast Was Always Clear, everyone appears to be unable to stop smiling. What a way to play London.