Since the release of his third solo album ‘Call The Comet’, Johnny Marr’s diary has been jam packed; from an extensive tour in the UK and two in the states, to multiple festival dates. The guitar hero recently proved that Summer’s not all about festivals, announcing a short run of UK dates that saw him play intimate venues in Exeter, Norwich, Hull and Middlesbrough – we were at his Hull gig and it was nothing short of spectacular.
Support came from Johnny’s son, Nile Marr. Nile released his first album ‘TV Broke My Brain’ under the name ‘Man Made’ in 2016 and has since been busy touring the world with Hans Zimmer’s live band and working on his follow up album. Having recently played a six night residency at Manchester’s iconic Night and Day Café, Nile and his band (drummer Aden Peets and bassist Callum Rogers) are well and truly an accomplished live force – something that they more than proved on Wednesday night. Not afraid to dive into the unknown, their set list mainly consisted of new material from their forthcoming album, though was peppered with a few fan favourites; ‘TV Broke My Brain’, ‘Carsick Cars’ and ‘Hi Tech Low life’. Nile’s intricate guitar work impressed throughout and the new material received an electric reaction from the crowd; particularly their infectiously catchy new single ‘Part Time Girl’, which is due for digital release on 6thSeptember. There’s a great deal of confidence behind our words when we say that Nile Marr has an exciting year ahead of him.
Taking to the Welly Club’s tiny stage at 9pm, Johnny opened the set with the cinematically tensive ‘Call The Comet’ track ‘The Tracers’, before diving into the raucous Smiths classic ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’. As usual, Johnny excelled in delivering a varied set-list to cater to all fans; from paying homage to the Smiths and Electronic with anthems such as ‘How Soon Is Now’ and ‘Get The Message’ to new material such as the shimmeringly beautiful ‘Hi Hello’ and the synth splashed ‘Armatopia’.Since launching his solo career in 2013, Johnny’s confidence as a frontman has grown and it’s a pleasure to see this demonstrated as he pulls faces at the crowd and rushes to the barrier during his many exhilarating guitar solos; with ‘Day In Day Out’ and ‘Hey Angel’ particularly impressing! Speaking of confidence, Electronic anthems ‘Getting Away With It’ and ‘Get The Message’ both get him dancing and it’s quite clear from those alone just see how much he enjoys being onstage.
Last December, we reviewed Johnny’s gig at Hackey’s EartH, where he shocked the crowd with a full rendition of Smiths classic ‘This Charming Man’ – it’s since become a blessing in his set, delighting many an audience member on Wednesday night. Following ‘This Charming Man’ can’t be easy, but Johnny nailed it with the breath-takingly intense ‘Walk Into The Sea’; boasting one of his two strongest vocal performances of the evening – the second being the utterly sublime ‘Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me’; bringing a tear to many eyes as Johnny’s vocals glided through the lyrics with utter perfection.A blustering rendition of ‘How Soon Is Now’ ended the main set, with its tremolo pulse echoing around the 600 capacity venue. The band returned to thunderous applause with a searing performance of anti-right wing anthem ‘Rise’; the opulent opener to ‘Call The Comet’. The beautiful – and much welcomed surprise – of ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’ followed, stunning the crowd into silence. After a heartwarming thank you to Nile and his band for their earlier support set, Johnny welcomed Nile back to the stage for the final two tracks; including a cover of Banbarra ‘Shack Up’ that defied the crowd not to dance. The set came to an almighty end with the transcendent ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ and it was impossible not to be awestricken whilst watching double Marr on guitar.
If you’ve not seen this charming man live yet, or simply can’t get enough (which is understandable) then he’s playing a two night residency at Manchester’s Albert Hall next month.