Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Johnny Foreigner, Norwich Arts Centre

Performing before a backdrop of the recent film version of "Where The Wild Things Are" seems a little incongruous in tonight's setting - if the Owl wished to see a movie there is a perfectly good cinema five minutes up the road, and a wet Thursday night in Norwich is definitely not the place to find anything wild - but it is the dilemma facing Johnny Foreigner as they attempt to enthrall a somewhat meagre crowd.  It is, in fairness, an evening that deserves greater support, with six acts playing across the two rooms of the Arts Centre, all for the recession-busting fee of five quid, but the sparseness of the crowd does not appear to deter our nominal headliners.
Indeed, JF pull something of a fast one, with the boy/girl vocalists craftily placing themselves among the crowd as the drummer alone takes to the stage, before belting out the opening number unamplified whilst standing amongst the "throng".  It makes for something of a spectacle, albeit a low-key one.  I look forward to seeing them repeat the trick at the O2. 
Unfortunately, once back on stage and plugged in, the remainder of the set makes for quite lumpy fare, heavy on perspiration but light on the thrills we seek in a Jack n Meg free environment.  Regrettably, a detailed knowledge of the Pixies back catalogue does not automatically turn you into tunesmiths in the Black/Deal mould, and a few more surprises tonight would have helped divert our attention from the wild beasts performing over the band's shoulders.  


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