Johnny Marr at The LCR - 04/11/2018
Last night I dreamt that somebody loved me (if you pardon the pun) the feeling that submerged my mind as ex-Smiths legend Johnny Marr kicked off his Call the Comet tour at the LCR, to a huge reception from fans past and present. The legendary Mancunian was supported by up and coming quintet Crewel Intentions.
The night kicked off with new hot prospects Crewel Intentions a five-piece band who played a short yet very energetic set. Their sound draws on many influences, from traditional acts such as, The Doors and The Velvet Underground and with more recent acts, Blossoms and most notably, Arctic Monkeys seen not just in sound, but in the style with the frontman basing his image on Alex Turner with more subtle aspects of Iggy Pop and Jim Morrison in his slick, lizard-like antics cavorting around the front of the stage and giving off a hypnotic allure, which, even though was effective, at times it seemed rather of the top. However, this didn’t put me off their performance and they played a very energetic set to shake off the crowd’s Sunday night blues and get them pumped up to see the legendary Marr and a chance to relive their youths as if it was 1984 all over again. Yet, I couldn’t help but spot those in the Morrissey fan club with their National Health glasses and worn out tweed blazers watching as if they were there spitefully seeing Marr perform or purely as they could only dream of seeing the two on stage together.
For those not familiar, Marr has been very versatile in the countless number of projects post-Smiths. Firstly, came the supergroup Electronic he formed with New Order frontman Bernard Sumner and Pet Shop Boys frontman Neil Tennant with their huge hit single “Getting Away with It” which, when he played in the set, the crowd responded very well and which left me even more entertained with Marr’s dance moves towards the end of the show, a rare example of good dad dancing. Further projects included, working with The The and more recently The Cribs and Modest Mouse. Marr is clearly an artist who expands his influence and is intent on evolving his style of music.
Marr certainly proved why he is an ultimate British icon of popular music by putting on a spectacle that embraced psychedelic soundscapes with a warm cinematic tone in the form of his third solo album Call the Comet. An album that shows Marr establishing his versatilities as a solo musician following on from his previous albums Playland (2014) and The Messenger (2013) which displayed a highly charged up approach to Indie rock music. What I thought was a highlight was the use of keyboards and synthesizers to evoke a dreamy sonic atmosphere, especially in songs like “New Dominion” and “Walk Into The Sea” the album singles also reflect a prevalent nostalgia as the sound of The Smith’s seminal album The Queen is Dead can be heard in tracks such as, “Day in Day Out" and "Hi Hello” which the crowd responded with great fondness as it demonstrated the importance of Johnny Marr’s roots and the effect it had on both old and new fans. The set wouldn’t be complete without the nostalgia evoked in Marr's performance of classic Smiths numbers including: “Bigmouth Strikes Again”, “The Headmaster Ritual” and closing the gig, “How Soon Is Now?” from the encore that was very much in demand.
Considering I saw Morrissey earlier this year, it was pretty much my very own Smiths' reunion gig, but the mere thought of that is somewhat discomforting with Morrissey doing what he does best: Offending someone every five minutes. This for most fans, is why Marr has become the last beacon of faith in ensuring that the legacy is still important for devoted fans. However, despite it being a perishing Sunday night, I can say it was without a doubt all worthwhile in watching a true legend perform.