Johnny Marr: Leeds Stylus – live review

Johnny Marr Leeds Stylus 20 September 2021 ‘Johnny Fucking Marr’ – that chant ringing around the venue is free of the tiresome laddishness that can blight these sorts of gigs, but instead is a heartfelt tribute to the greatest guitarist of his generation who has reinvented himself as a really good frontman. Everyone knew how […] The post Johnny Marr: Leeds Stylus – live review appeared first on Louder Than War.

Johnny Marr: Leeds Stylus – live review

Johnny Marr
Leeds Stylus
20 September 2021

‘Johnny Fucking Marr’ – that chant ringing around the venue is free of the tiresome laddishness that can blight these sorts of gigs, but instead is a heartfelt tribute to the greatest guitarist of his generation who has reinvented himself as a really good frontman.

Everyone knew how good Marr was on six strings, but since he decided to take on vocal duties his voice has grown in confidence to get somewhere near the majesty of his playing which remains undimmed.

The first of regular mass singalongs kicked off as the opening bars of Panic rang out across the room, and whilst Marr may not have the range or swagger of his former sparring partner he understands these songs backwards delivering a passionate vocal. Oh, and he absolutely smashes the iconic solo. But it would be a mistake to see this as just a tired nostalgia show of the kind some other Mancunian indie legends are churning out as his new material is really strong too. You don’t write some of the greatest indie pop tunes of all time and lose the knack of writing a decent hook.

Marr has been around a long time, and he’s smart enough to curate a setlist that allows him to take his fans with him as he looks back with dignity and showcases the new stuff. His new single Spirit Power and Soul has all those ingredients with added electronica as the drummer bashes at a synth pad as Marr noodles away on a tune that is both retro and contemporary. It’s a bit of a myth that Marr disappeared after The Smiths imploded as he had a pretty decent solo career and it was a delight when he played Electronic’s Get The Message swiftly followed by a massive Getting Away With It. His carefully calibrated solo was probably the best one you’ll see all year, and actually, his vocals were better than the original version. He romped through Headmaster Ritual, which was probably the only song that exposed the fact he isn’t a natural vocalist, but he did capture the spite and misery of the Mancunian schooling of his youth.

Kenny Brown - Johnny Marr

Throughout Marr is an engaged and engaging performer despite attempting the dodgiest Yorkshire accent ever as he mused that they always seem to start UK tours in Leeds. Students of The Smiths will recall that Marr was always a bit of a poser and he is totally unafraid to throw endless rock god guitar shapes, often with an ironic smile on his face, as he is clearly having as much as the fans. Hi Hello is a classic example of Marr’s solo work with a nagging riff, and big chorus, which could have quite easily been a Smiths song.

Kenny Brown - Johnny Marr There is a wonderful moment during a sprightly This Charming Man as two bald middle-aged blokes unselfconsciously hug each other as they are instantly transported back to a time when they had quiffs, and they went into their local record shop to buy the single on the day it was released. Somehow Marr even managed to breathe new life back into the massively overrated How Soon Is Now before tearing his way through a muscular Ampatopia.

Most of the crowd never thought they’d see a live version of There Is A Light That Never Goes Out that still speaks to being an outsider so arms were raised around the venue in supplication. Marr shows all his stagecraft stepping back from the mic as the audience bellow the words back at him because many of the people here tonight are still raging against the dying of the light. A powerful version of Easy Money is a reminder of his continued craft. A few technical gremlins creep in during the encore, but Marr assures us the wait will be “worth it”, and he was right as Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others was sublime.

Marr seems amazed it is two years since he last played in this country and his tight band did him proud on Bigmouth Strikes Again, sending people home with a massive smile on their faces after a final singalong. You have a choice these days, pay top dollar in an arena to watch a bitter man seemingly determined to trample over his legacy, or check out a well loved performer who is not only celebrating his past, but adding something new to it. Frankly, it’s a no brainer.

Photos by Kenny Brown. You can find Kenny’s photographic work at his website: or Instagram

You can follow Johnny Marr on Facebook and Twitter.

Words by Paul Clarke, you can see his author profile here.

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Watch This! Snippet aka Johnno Casson unveils new single and animated video

Here Come The Freaks is in celebration of the picked upon, the bullied and the underappreciated members of society. The post Watch This! Snippet aka Johnno Casson unveils new single and animated video appeared first on Louder Than War.

Watch This!  Snippet aka Johnno Casson unveils new single and animated video

Former caretaker, London Underground railman and local council relationship manager Johnno Casson, aka Snippet, started out writing songs at the age of fifteen in his bedroom on a Hackney council estate, with a tennis racket for a guitar and a soap-on-a-rope microphone. Johnno juggled being in a band with holding down a normal job (playing a packed Astoria at night and washing out shit-stained lifts in the morning).

Johnno played in Adrian Sherwood’s (On-U Sound) five-a-side football team, gloriously beating The Sun newspaper’s team at a championship for charity at Arsenal’s old Highbury stadium. For the last twelve years he has been perfecting his coleslaw-making skills whilst getting M.E and becoming a well-respected figurehead on the British D.I.Y./Wonky Pop scene, by making excellent songs that may come from the borders and margins, but that kiss you in the sweet spot as well as more mainstream songs do. Hackney born and Colchester based, he returns with a cheeky new single Here Come The Freaks.

Written, recorded and self-produced by Johnno in the middle of recording a new Snippet album, this song just didn’t seem comfortable being sat between two tracks on an album, so it busted out in its own right.

Here Come The Freaks is in celebration of the picked on, the bullied and the underappreciated members of society.

Johnno has recorded and toured extensively with several bands, including as lead singer with Deep Joy, who were born out of the early 90’s London acid house/club scene via Shoom nightclub, and who were named as Danny Rampling’s favourite band – working with David Harrow and Andrew Weatherall who produced and remixed their debut single on Brainiak Records – onto the early years of trip-hop on James Lavelle’s Mo ‘Wax label and being championed by Gilles Peterson on Kiss FM. They dented the charts in New York, Tokyo and London, and also worked with the aforementioned legendary On-U Sound label founder and producer Adrian Sherwood on their Ray Hayden-produced material.

Over the last dozen years Johnno has been releasing independent music under his own name, as Snippet, Old Tramp and Walken400, creating a unique catalogue of recordings and performances and has been named by Tom Robinson as the most-played BBC Introducing artist ever on his BBC 6 Music show. Said Tom: “I feel about Snippet much like John Peel felt about The Fall – Snippet: A National Indie Treasure”.

Video by Jonny Drop.

The Johnno Casson website is here: johnnocasson.co.uk. You can follow him on Twitter as @Snippetcuts and Like on Facebook.

~

All words via Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop and you can follow him on Twitter as @hiapop, and on Facebook here.

The post Watch This! Snippet aka Johnno Casson unveils new single and animated video appeared first on Louder Than War.

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