I may live 5,000 miles away from most of you reading this, but I am still well aware that Johnny Borrell is Britain's Most Hated. Just my simple Facebook status update yesterday, mentioning that I was going to Razorlight's L.A. show at the Troubadour, invited a flurry of scornful comments from my U.K.-based friends. Many of them threatening to de-friend me.
In America, however, Razorlight are for the most part a non-entity. They haven't sold many records here (despite some of the band's obvious attempts to woo America - like, with, um, 'America' and despite Johnny's fling with well-known American actress Kirsten Dunst, which landed his face in 'People' magazine a few times). So no one really hates Razorlight in the States. After all, how can Americans hate that which they do not know?
However, Razorlight remain favored by hipster/Anglophile types in the U.S., and such types were out in full force when the band played a seriously sold-out show at L.A.'s Troubadour last night. But what surprised me wasn't the turnout of Anglophiles, but of actual Anglos: I in fact overheard so many ex-pats' British accents all around me, I felt like for one evening the Troubadour had been transformed into the temporary location of the British Embassy. And the Brits were all shouting terrace-style to every word of 'Stumble And Fall', 'Don't Go Back To Dalston', 'Somewhere Else', 'In The Morning'...even the songs off 'Slipway Fires', which doesn't get released in America until March 10.
So out of curiosity - especially since I perhaps incorrectly assumed all Brits loathed Razorlight - I asked an Englishman at the Troubadour why the audience was so predominantly composed of ex-pats. To which he replied: "Because we're the only people in America who know about them!"
Well, fair enough. I don't know if more Americans will discover Razorlight after the U.S. release of 'Slipway Fires', but I must admit - even at the risk of being de-friended by my U.K. Facebook contacts - that the band put on an amazing show for their people last night.