Live Review: Johnny Foreigner with Bearfoot Beware and We Are the Physics at Leeds Brudenell Social Club – 11th March 2012

By on Thursday, 12th April 2012 at 2:00 pm

There’s something special about the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Maybe it’s the fact that they seem to have the most eclectic variety of acts on in their small space, regardless of the band’s size (The Subways played here last year not long before their show at London Koko [reviewed here] and Dry the River [album review here] are scheduled to make a stop here soon.) Maybe it’s the unassuming layout of half Social Club, half cone-shaped venue. Maybe it’s just the friendly atmosphere and affordable drinks. Regardless of the reasons, they’re always up for putting on a good night and so tonight, Johnny Foreigner and company roll into town.

The first act TGTF catches is Bearfoot Beware. The Yorkshire outfit are no stranger to the Social Club, and seem to have the confidence from that familiarity as they stride through their breed of indie math-rock with precision. Tracks such as ‘Catbus’ and ‘Lemon Curd’ capture the imagination and the group can be proud of their evening’s outing. It’s warm and static at the same time with the aesthetic of bedroom recordings whilst sounding professional. It’s a delicate balancing act, but they pull it off.

Lead support and tour buddies for tonight’s headliners, Scotland’s We Are the Physics are also in good spirits. Currently working on album number two, the group’s disregard for traditional time signatures doesn’t hold them back as far as crowd engagement going. With bobbing heads from the crowd, a buoyant WatP power through a selection of tracks that could be singalongs if the right amount of people were infront of them. The comparisons to the late Dananananaykroyd and the Futureheads are there, but it has to be said that these physicists (professions as of yet unconfirmed) occupy a slightly smaller niche. ‘Bulimia Sisters’ could be both of the aformentioned bands, but moves in different ways whilst a selection of others are slightly confusing, but somehow in a good way. We’ll keep a watch on these guys.

After yet again hitting almost every city in the country in short marathon stints of gargantuan stamina, Johnny Foreigner’s second UK tour in support of their third record ‘Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything’ (album review here) has really rallied them a dedicated fanbase, ready to singalong to anything thrown at them. Starting at various locations in the crowd, fronting duo Alexei and Kelly throw the aptly named ‘Johnny Foreigner Vs You’’s melancholy “somewhere there’s a party that you’re not invited to / I don’t know when but I’ll get there soon” around the small venue. It’s not got the same effect they might hope given this evening’s crowd, but it’s unique and for that reason, it works.

Playing a selection of material from across all three records and also throwing in ‘Champagne Girls…’ from their debut EP (all those years back) proves to create a brilliantly diverse setlist. In an age of predictable singles collections, JoFo know that their dedicated fanbase can take more. Singing along tentatively to everything including recently rejuvenated material from second album ‘Grace and the Bigger Picture’, those present are seeing the Birmingham trio on top form. New material in the form of ‘If I’m the Most Famous Boy…’ and ‘Hulk Hoegaarden…’ slots in with maturity and rock edge with the band’s style of indie-rock. Almost everything the band play these days ends up sounding even better than on record. Ending with ‘Absolute Balance’, Johnny Foreigner ghost off having made yet another lasting impact on the Brudenell. Things have broken (mainly bass-related), but tonight’s been electric.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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