September 30, 2008

New Johnny Foreigner: "Ghost The Festivals," U.S. Dates

Birmingham, England-based indie rock dynamos Johnny Foreigner recently recorded a 23-minute segment for something called Channel m, operating out of Manchester, England. We're not familiar with the show, but based on its format (bands play live, chat a little, then play live some more) we think we're going to have to see what else they've got to offer. Oh wait, here's the deal about Channel m from its Brightcove profile page: "Channel m is based in Manchester, England and provides programmes for the Greater Manchester community. It is available at, free to air within the Greater Manchester area, on Sky (channel 203) or Virgin/NTL (channel 878)." So there.

Anyway, Channel m had Johnny Foreigner in recently to play a short set, and it is great. Shot with three cameras, the sound is perfect, and the noise-pop trio's performances are solid almost all the way around (there's a little slip during "Eyes Wide Terrified," and the dynamic of "Salt, Peppa and Spinderella" downshifts at the major transition instead of crescendoing). Most exciting is the band, whose excellent full-length debut Waited Up Til It Was Light was finally released in America last week by Nettwerk, plays a new song we've never heard -- or even heard of -- called "Ghost The Festivals," which we expect is about the band's experiences on the European festival circuit this summer and last summer.

There is an interview segment mid-set, but the television presenter doesn't seem to be aware that the trio just snuck a new song on, and therefore he doesn't get any answers for us. But he does elicit from Mr. Berrow a strong defense of mainstream pop-punkers Blink 182. Had Berrow defended any other commercial punk act we'd have raised an eyebrow, but as our esteemed pal The Good Doctor used to make a similar speech about Blink 182 at the turn of the century, we're used to being told there's some quality there. Also in the interview there is discussion of the video for Johnny Foreigner's current single "Salt, Peppa And Spinderella," which was banned in England because it was feared it would cause seizures in epileptics. Alexei cuts in: "Allegedly. It's only [banned] in England. But it's playing on kind of music stations in Japan and America and no one's died yet." Anyway, we've embedded the whole set above, so sit back with a beer or two and have at it. Set list is below. As you can see, "Ghost The Festivals" is the third track, six-and-a-half minutes in.

Johnny Foreigner has also been quietly adding to its U.S. appearances next month. In addition to the band's CMJ date on Thursday Oct. 23 we mentioned previously here, the stellar Birmingham, England-based trio will appear for a KEXP Live Session that same morning at a certain Gibson Showroom somewhere in Manhattan. The following night the trio rocks Fontana's in Manhattan. And Monday, Oct. 27, Johnny Foreigner will visit Philadelphia-based independent broadcaster WXPN to record a live session. All of which leaves us wondering whether we'll be seeing the band in Boston around that time. If not, assuming we've no other commitments we're likely to venture to Manhattan for the Friday CMJ show. Because, you know, we like rock music. We like it so much, here's a live version of "Lea Room" from an XFM radio session early this year. Or maybe late last year.

Johnny Foreigner -- "Lea Room (Live)" -- XFM Session
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[buy Johnny Foreigner music from EMusic right here, or Newbury Comics right here]

Channel m set list:
"The End And Everything After"
"Henning's Favorite"
"Ghost The Festivals"
"Salt, Peppa and Spinderella"
"Cranes And Cranes And Cranes And Cranes"
"Eyes Wide Terrified"

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