Review: Johnny Foreigner / Talons / Ace Bushy Striptease @TheHareandHounds

Johnny Foreigner / Talons / Ace Bushy Striptease
Birmingham Promoters
The Hare and Hounds
Kings Heath
5th February 2010

Walking through the doors of The Hare and Hounds, we’re immediately faced with waiting people. Scattered in ones and twos up the winding staircase, Johnny Foreigner’s devoted admirers linger with eagerness for Birmingham Promoters to get their stamps out!

Its not long before the doors are open and Ace Bushy Striptease are set in motion, with tri-vocal screams of “ACE BUSHY STRIPTEASE”. The band is that archetypal definition of marmite. You either love or loath their performance, for us tonight it was loose in places, over thought and satirically shambolic, but that’s not to say there are not tiny glimpses of what could be.

Johnny Foreigner tour support, Talons, a five piece, instrumental band from Hereford are next to grace the stage, and blow the crowd away. With well thought, well worked exceptional musicianship it was straightforward to see why the audience stood with open mouths. The description “epic” can be used far too often at times, but in this instance it fits like a glove. Every quiet break in the instrumental is rewarded with whistles and applause, and by the last song ‘Bethlehem,’ the lights faded on the dueling violinists in complete rapture. Sometimes there are no words to do a performance justice.

Finally at last, after waiting for technical issues to be remedied, Johnny Foreigner get up and do what they do best. Luckily for them, the big bouncing balloons, given to the audience, switched the stigma of delay to amusement with a game of gig volleyball. Fortunately the balloons were burst in time for Alexei, Kelly and Junior to play songs from both, Waited Up ‘til It Was Light and Grace And The Bigger Picture. ‘Yes! You Talk To Fast’ sees Alexei grasp the microphone and play one handed guitar with his other hand with visceral energy. Kelly gets the crowd clapping to the beat of ‘Feels Like Summer’, while Junior persistently requests throughout the gig for “more dancing”.

Johnny Foreigner’s penetrating three-piece assault slowly engaged the audience to glow with them. New song ‘Harriet’ goes down well. A song about a girl Alexei dated, after getting Kelly to ask for him. Two weeks later Harriet disclosed that her name was Karen. Revelation in definition!

Overall the gig is a success, and so it should be. It was great to see one of the city’s home grown acts get the recognition and support they deserve. With Calories and Youves in the city centre at This is Tomorrow tonight as well, and Johnny Foreigner, Talons and ABS in Kings Heath, you have to ask yourself, “Who needs London?” Second City First!!!

Tommo Barnes

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