Review by Nick Tompkins
It’s Friday night in Canterbury, and tonight Birmingham indie rock quartet Johnny Foreigner will be gracing the stage of the small city’s well-loved Penny Theatre following the release of their fourth studio album, You Can Do Better.
It at first seems like a fairly rigid reception as the group open with the title track of the new album, ‘You Can Do Better’ and fellow newbie, ‘Le Sigh’. Despite a hesitant audience the band remain in good spirits as guitars are wielded like weapons of war, swinging weightily around the stage. Like a much needed dousing of oil, ‘Hennings Favourite’ is drawn from the back-catalogue of old gems and is greeted with uproarious excitement; the small but giddy crowd now turns into a swirling force, and the wonders of the intimacy of the Penny Theatre are now unavoidable as Johnny Foreigner inhale the energy of the room and use it as fuel. A raucous ‘Stop Talking About Ghosts’ demonstrates bassist Kelly Southern’s unfaultable stage presence, with the power of her voice sending the microphone into a fit of crackling and popping.
As they tear through an even spread of both old and new material each song is played with as much urgency as the next.
It’s a real thrill to see that Johnny Foreigner are every bit as chaotic, raw, passionate and fun-loving as they are on their albums. As the band leave the stage sodden with sweat, it feels as if the humble venue has just played host to indie pop-rock royalty as it exhales small swarms of sweaty, star-struck fans into the night.