Monday, June 07, 2010

John Foxx at the Roundhouse, June 5, 2010

Judging from my stats on Google Analytics, a lot of people are waiting for this review. I’m surprised and flattered that people are that interested in my opinion of the Foxx events. I am still recovering from a 5-hour time difference within a 72-hour period, so I hope this is coherent.

I arrived at my hotel across from the Roundhouse at around 10:30 pm on Friday. This is always a bit disconcerting, as I usually have to be at Newark Airport at 7:00 in the morning for my flight. Camden Town is obviously a happening place—I couldn’t believe how many people were out. London is not New York—everything closes down by 11:30 or so in many places. By contrast, everything is just STARTING in New York at 11:30. But I digress...

The next day it was HOT. Not as hot as New Jersey—just turn the sauna steam down a few notches, and you have this past weekend’s weather in the south of England. London is also not known for having a whole lot of air conditioning, so it was a sticky affair. I had some errands to run in the West End before heading back to my hotel at around 12:30. I was already tired from walking around. I met up with a friend for lunch around 2:30, and then headed over to what has been dubbed “Foxxgate” at the Lock Tavern in Camden, not far from the Roundhouse. Our friend Brian (Mateybloke), who seems to have become the unofficial Foxx event documentarian, has some video from that event:

I met quite a few people from the forum there, and we chatted until about 7:00, when it was time to head over to the venue. There was quite a long line—I don’t think the show sold out, but there were certainly a few hundred people there, at the very least. I would have preferred to have been front and center for this gig, but I really wanted to hold on to the barricade in the front row—my legs were not doing a good job of supporting my body at that point. Too much walking around when I don’t get to walk around enough at home, I think—my ankles were actually swollen when I got back to my hotel later.

There were DJ sets by Jori Hulkkonen and Mark Jones before Foxx came on around 9:00. Gary Numan was supposed to come on after Jori, but he was delayed, so they swapped the sets around. From what I heard a lot of Numan fans were not happy about this; many had to catch the last train to their destination, and expected his set to be earlier.

Foxx played from about 9:00 to about 11:00. Here is the setlist, which I’ve totally ripped off from my friend Martin (Birdsong), with many thanks to him for putting it together:

Part One - Metamatic
This City
Burning Car
He's A Liquid
No One Driving

Part Two - Gordongate
Shadow Man
A Million Cars
An Ocean We Can Breathe

Part Three - The Maths
(new material here, someone might know the correct titles)
Running Man
In Summer Land (??)
Watching A Building On Fire
Catwalk/Satellite Town (??)

Part Four - Ultravox
Quiet Men
Slow Motion

new track - Ghost Shadow(??)
is this from the sessions with Paul Daley...?
Man Who Dies Every Day

Just For A Moment

As you can see from Martin’s list above, Foxx played material from different albums, with different people throughout the night. He had a full band backing him for most of it—I think it really enriched the sound of everything. Robin Simon (who played on Ultravox's Systems of Romance, John's last album with Ultravox)joined him towards the end, and Louis Gordon also came onstage for a few songs. I really enjoyed the new material with Benge (the Maths stuff)—that album comes out in the Fall, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Here are a couple of videos from the show. One is mine, and another is Brian’s—he had a much better vantage point for filming, and has a better camera:

Brian's video of "Quiet Men"

My video of "Underpass"

(You can see more of Brian's video on Youtube by looking for videos by "mateybloke").

There were 5 cameras recording the event, which may come out on an official DVD. Gary Numan came on afterward, but I couldn’t stand inside the venue any longer, so I didn’t see his set. I went out to see about the aftershow, when Karborn came downstairs and gave me a backstage pass. I wasn’t thrilled about the “rock-starrishness” of this venue—I’m used to John just coming out to chat with the fans in the bar. But, it’s a larger than usual venue, so that’s how it works. Fortunately everyone else waiting to talk to Foxx got to come upstairs as well, so it was quite an aftershow. I talked to Foxx for a little while, though there were so many people, we didn’t talk about much but a potential trip to New York (no details on any New York events at this point). Steve Malins said he was taking next week off, and given the magnitude of the event, it’s obviously much needed and well-deserved. I also talked with Karborn about a number of things over the course of the evening, including his new website, which has some interesting new works—I encourage you to check it out.

I also met some new people during and after the show—lots of folks from the Metamatic forum—it was nice to finally put faces and names together. It was lovely to meet Nicola and Nadiin, and to see Isabelle, whom I didn’t expect to see. I wish we all had more time together. Can you all sign a petition for me to move to the UK or something?

Before I said goodbye to Foxx, he said, “Brigid, I hope it’s been worth it for you to come all this way.” And it always is.


Gary said...

Nice post Brigid and BRian's video's are excellent, could n't go to the gig but watched the live webcast. Gary

Anonymous said...

That's amazing that you came all the way from New Jersey for the show. I helped out with the event and just got the set list from Foxx's management as I see you had some ? marks next to some of the tunes. Hope this helps!

1. Plaza
2. This City
3. Burning Car
4. He's A Liquid
5. No One Driving
6. Underpass
7. Shadow Man
8. A Million Cars
9. An Ocean We Can Breathe
10. The Running Man
11. Summerland
12. Watching A Building On Fire
13. Catwalk
14. Dislocation
15. Quiet Men
16. Slow Motion

Encore 1

1. Good Shadow
2. The Man Who Dies Every Day
3. Destination

Encore 2

1. Just For A Moment

Brigid N. Burke said...

Thanks to both of you--I saw that Chris Curran had posted the updated setlist to Metamatic as well.

Gary--I heard the webcast was good. Looking forward to the official DVD. :)

I usually fly out for John's events, whether they be art exhibits, showings of "The Quiet Man", or actual gigs. I've been to London and other points in the UK to see Foxx 6 times within the last year. I'm sure I'll be back again--he promises to come to New York (and did once last year), but I don't know if he'll make a habit out of it. :)

Anonymous said...

I was hoping to hear of an official DVD. Since I can't afford to see John since he's reactivated, I an relying on that DVD. Ironically, at any time during the 90s up to "Shifting City" I had the money to go anywhere in the world where Foxx would have played, except that he never did. Since I got married in 1996, my expenses and responsibilities shifted to curb such endeavors. Oh, we could still fly out to Vegas for the rare Bryan Ferry gig, but transatlantic jaunts were not easily possible.

Brigid N. Burke said...

REVO--Foxx is looking to perform in New York, but I don't know if it's going to be an actual gig, or an art/film event. There are lots of American fans that would love to hear John perform music in the U.S. again--it's been more than 30 years, and with Ultravox last time--never any of his solo material.

It's definitely been financially challenging for me to see Foxx as much as I do--6 times in the last year and half (not counting his Hudson, NY visit last year), so I can understand why more people don't do it. Some people (probably John included) think I'm nuts for doing it. :) But I'm not married with family obligations, either...

Stay tuned, if I hear anything official about an American gig, I will be sure to post. I'll see what I can find out about the official DVD...they do say it's coming out.