Into Music Reviews: Johnny Marr at Glasgow Barrowland

Act: Johnny Marr
Venue: Glasgow Barrowland
Date: 15 November 2018

From his time in The Smiths, to his time with Electronic, The The, The Cramps and his solo releases and through a number of other collaborations, Johnny Marr has delivered a body of diverse work over such a sustained period of time comparable to the likes of David Bowie and Damon Albarn. Marr is a gift to British musical culture. The current tour Marr has embarked on is in support of his third solo studio release ‘Call the Comet’ and the setlist for the night leant very heavily on this album. There was however, plenty of room for some classic Smiths & Electronic songs, plus a Kylie Minogue cover… ‘you didn’t expect did you?’…

The band hit the stage to a rapturous reception, and kick straight in to the music. It’s immediately clear that Marr and co. are on it. The sound is immense: loud and strong but clear and defined right from the start. When Marr plays you can feel and hear every note, as he cajoles his Fender Jaguar into yet another lick, riff or solo. He moves around the stage, posing and posturing like a peacock and is clearly enjoying himself as he holds a shape, points into the crowd or holds his guitar up and away from his body, showing off his skill. His vocals also come over fantastically well, although it is interesting he chooses to sing the Smiths songs with more than a nod to Morrissey’s inflections.

The tempo and quality never drops as the band work through the main set. Some highlights for me include Hi Hello & Easy Money, both from Marr’s solo releases. Getting Away With It and How Soon is Now? are a couple of other belters sprinkled across a set full of great tunes. Marr leaves the stage to the sound of a passionate audience calling for an encore and he duly delivers with a five-song finale including the evergreen There is a Light… to keep the punters happy, before they head off into the night with the sound of Marr’s guitar ringing in their ears.

Set:
1. The Tracers
2. Bigmouth Strikes Again
3. Jeopardy
4. Day In Day Out
5. New Dominions
6. Hi Hello
7. The Headmaster Ritual
8. Walk Into the Sea
9. Getting Away With It
10. Hey Angel
11. Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me
12. Spiral Cities
13. Can’t Get You Out of My Head
14. Get the Message
15. Easy Money
16. Boys Get Straight
17. How Soon Is Now?
Encore:
18. Rise
19. Bug
20. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
21. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
22. You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby

Words: Andrew Rafferty
Image: Vincent Morton

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