The 2000s were a great time to be a John Foxx fan, with so many releases and re-releases and events of all kinds. If you lived near enough to London to make attending events feasible, even better. To be fair, John had also been making his way elsewhere since his return to active duty in 1997 – but London got far more than its fair share of Foxx action (as it does of just about any kind of action)…
‘Neuro Video’ is a live CD that captures a particularly memorable live event at the short-lived London venue ‘The Luminaire’ – and there is a significance to why the photos here picture the CD against a backdrop of a ‘For Trash’ T-shirt – as the date of the event, 24th November 2007, was the ‘T-shirt gig’ that had been trailed some while beforehand via the metamatic.com website (and John’s MySpace site of the time). Cynical marketing push to sell merch? With a capacity of 275, The Luminaire was a tiny venue, so hardly the case… but who could resist gaining free entry to a John Foxx and Louis Gordon gig for free simply by turning up in that specific T-shirt, if you could make it.
The news item of the time on the metamatic.com website (and as archived here) described it all thus;
Saturday the 24th of November, 2007 : The Luminaire, London
Address : The Luminaire, 311 High Road, Kilburn, London NW6 7JR
Full details of how to get to The Luminaire are available on their website
The Luminaire, which recently won the UK Live Venue of the Year at the Music Week Awards and has been Time Out’s London Live Venue of the Year for two year’s running, has been chosen to be the venue for this very special event.
John Foxx and Louis Gordon will now be playing TWO shows on Saturday the 24th of November at The Luminaire in London.
The first (special matinee) performance will be at 5:00pm (doors to open at 4:00pm) and will be the ‘free’ T-Shirt gig, admission to which is entirely dependent on your wearing a From Trash T-Shirt. Their set will include the “top five” requested songs, along with a couple of other surprises.
The second performance will be at 9:00pm (doors to re-open at 8:00pm) and is a ticketed show – which means that you will NOT get ‘free’ entry wearing a From Trash T-Shirt. The “top five” songs chosen by you will once again be featured, together with a couple of other changes to the set.
We’ve decided to do this so that if anyone cannot get in to the matinee show (wearing a From Trash T-Shirt) because it is FULL when they arrive, we will take their names, put them on the guest-list, and guarantee them entry to the evening show.
Therefore, please DON’T turn up at the evening show expecting to gain ‘free’ entry because you’re wearing a From Trash T-Shirt unless we’ve confirmed that with you earlier in the afternoon.
Choose five songs for John and Louis to perform live in the UK…
John and Louis are looking to perform five songs (at The Luminaire on Saturday the 24th of November, 2007) which have been chosen exclusively by members of the Metamatic News E-Mailing list. Everyone on the list is able to put forward their choice of which five songs they would most like to hear – the votes will then be collated and combined and the five most popular tracks will be included. The intention is for these songs to ONLY be performed at these special shows. So make your sure that your vote counts by requesting something from John’s catalogue that you thought you’d never hear performed live and make it a truly memorable evening. The rules are quite simple – you must be a member of the Metamatic News E-Mailing list to be able to vote and only one vote (with your “top” five songs) per person.
There is a whole thread about it on the immaculately preserved, alive and well metatmatic.com forums area too, if you want to delve further down the rabbit-hole…
And so it came to pass – arrive at The Luminaire in the afternoon, wear the T-shirt, be seen to wear the T-shirt and get in for free for the afternoon performance. I was in, since I had already bought said garment beforehand by default. There was of course also the evening, paying gig too.
And what a performance. John Foxx and Louis Gordon in full flight live mode and a richly varied set list. From 1997 through to the 5th June 2010 show at London Roundhouse, which appears to be the last time they shared the stage (for a few songs only and which sadly are NOT captured for posterity on the video ‘Analogue Circuit: Live At The Roundhouse’), they were a delight to witness in live performance. Regularly mixing their performances with well established Foxx classics from the ‘Metamatic’ era in particular, re-imagined Ultravox classics through to latter day Foxx/Gordon works such as the wonderful title track to this live album, you would never quite know what to expect.
The good news is that this is a wonderfully recorded live CD and well worth tracking down as an example of that period – though original CD copies sell for astronomical sums now, but it remains avaialable online. For the past decade and more, John Foxx has returned to a mixture of work under the John Foxx and the Maths umbrella and continuing solo and collaborative works, with the output slowing in more recent years. Those years as a duo with Louis Gordon witnessed some great albums and thrilling live gigs though.
- Swimmer II
- Making Movies
- Europe After The Rain
- The One Who Walks Through You
- A Million Cars
- Miles Away
- Dancing Like A Gun
- Neuro Video
- Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible
- Shadow Man
- Sailing On Sunshine
And what about those ‘top five’ request tracks? That thread on the metatmatic.com forums area, courtesy of a post from the site owner Rob Harris, confirms that the Top Five songs as voted for were (in no particular order): ‘Camera’, ‘Europe After The Rain’, ‘Miles Away’, ‘Dancing Like a Gun’ and ‘Shadowman’.
Finally, looking back at the metamatic.com forum, I had forgotten all about posting some reflections on the gig a few days later (under my forum nickname, glimmer fix) – here they are to compare and contrast…
Chiming in rather belatedly, but posting for posterity – if the T-shirt gig was something of an experiment then perhaps all opinions are welcome…
I approached the gig as something of a ‘cheeky bonus’, in Mighty Boosh speak, you could say. Living near enough to London to be able to turn up – and if it proved too busy and had to be turned away, no harm done. Transport to Kilburn for just after four, I took a wrong turn – and bumped into a fellow Foxx fan (hello James!) who had clearly done the same. To the venue, a surprise to find the queue still present and correct, bemused locals still asking ‘what’s ‘appenin’ in there today mate?’ The queue moved and we were all in. Inside the venue, it was great – I like smaller sized venues the best, so this was ideal. Another pleasant surprise was to bump into an old friend from many other previous gigs, Foxx and non-Foxx (hi Andrew!)
The pre (and post) gig sounds were great – a steady playlist of long gone electronic classics and could-have been classics (at least IMHO), The Normal, Suicide, Fad Gadget, Duet Emmo, Thomas Leer/Robert Rental, AC Marias, Gina X Performance – good stuff. Just after 5, I think, John and Louis took the stage and the show commenced – there’s been plenty written already, I can’t add much other than to opine that I felt the selection of material was great, a nice variation. Stand out tracks for me were the selections from ‘Sideways’ – to me, ‘Sideways’ is a favourite, it seems to have fallen out of a crack in time – it was really recorded in 1982, it is the album that the original ‘Endlessly’ would have been from had it crashed into ‘Metamatic’ during the recording sessions – and ‘Sailing On Sunshine’ is a good example of what I mean, some kind of psychedelic techno mashup. ‘Neuro Video’ was good to hear live too, and I’ve now returned to this as a favourite this past week. ‘Miles Away’, ‘Europe After The Rain’ and ‘Dancing Like A Gun’ were all wonderful surprises. The set closers from ‘Shifting City’ were souped-up juggernauts of sound, ‘Concrete, Bullet Proof, Invisible’ and ‘Shadow Man’ – great stuff.
After the afternoon show, we went downstairs to the pub (joined by another new face, hello other Ian!) – and a good chat until the time of the second show – at which point I had to leave. But a great afternoon and a nice treat.
The downside has been reading from people who could not attend due to the uncertainty of the entry requirements or cost. Unfortunate and I hope it hasn’t proved too disappointing – but it was a special event, making it all the more memorable for me.