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Johnny Marr - Concorde 2, Brighton - 14th March 2013 (Live Review)

Friday, 15 March 2013 Written by Graeme Marsh
Johnny Marr - Concorde 2, Brighton - 14th March 2013 (Live Review)

Many will say Johnny Marr’s recent Godlike Genius award from the NME was long overdue - Marr far surpassing, guitaring-wise at least, other recent icons presented with the title such as Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher. This award simply underlines the joy he has brought to countless scores of followers, all of whom have been captivated by the trademark Rickenbacker jingle-jangle tones which litter his phenomenal career with indie legends The Smiths and so many other acts including Modest Mouse, Electronic, The Cribs and Matt Johnson’s The The.

ImageThe first ever solo album by probably the most talented and adored indie-rock guitarist of all-time, 'The Messenger', hit stores on February 25th to mixed reviews (check out Stereoboard's review here), many critics highlighting weaknesses rather than strengths, so it would be interesting to see how live performances would shape up. With Brighton’s cosy and relevant Concorde 2 being a perfect venue for the 4th date in an extensive tour covering the UK, USA and Canada, Marr promised to furnish the set with some old favourites as well as showcasing the new album.

After impressive trio F.U.R.S. left the stage having played to a good crowd for a support act, the predominantly 30-40 somethings then started flooding through the doors as anticipation heightened; a throwaway comment or 2 stating that the miserable-faced ensemble could only be Smiths fans summing up their general appearance adequately.

Marr and his band entered the stage to a generous welcome before launching into album opener ‘The Right Thing Right’, whipping the crowd up with this upbeat track that includes a ‘statement of intent riff’ worthy of The Who.

The audience are then treated to a Smiths classic in the shape of ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’, the second single from 4th studio album ‘Strangeways Here We Come’ and continuing the up-tempo pace.

The rest of the highly impressive debut album followed; another Smiths classic ‘London’ was sandwiched between the likes of recent single ‘Upstarts’, the brilliant New Order/Electronic sounding ‘New Town Velocity’, finishing with ‘I Want the Heartbeat’. Other notable highlights along the way were excellent single and album title track ‘The Messenger’, ‘Generate! Generate!’ with its spine-tingling instrumental break which made the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention, and another Smiths gem ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ which provoked bodily movement from even the most staunch miserabilists in the room.

A rapturous encore brought the band back on stage where 4 more songs brought the gig to a close, including a brilliantly delivered rendition of Electronic’s biggest hit ‘Getting Away With It’ with an extended guitar middle section, and more Smiths magic in the form of folklore tracks ‘How Soon Is Now?’ and ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’.

Overall, it’s highly recommended that you catch this magician while you can... an hour and a half of brilliant music by an incredibly tight band led by a true legend ensured the crowd departed in no doubt that they had just witnessed one of the finest shows ever staged at the venue. There will be doubters that question Marr’s voice and the absence of a Morrissey or another vocalist of the same calibre that was able to match the supreme guitaring, but on this performance those voices will fall on deaf ears – in the reviewers case quite literally, as the front row view came at a cost as the wife forgot to bring those vital accessories when you hit a certain age – earplugs.

'The Messenger' is out now. Johnny Marr continues his tour tonight in London.

Johnny Marr UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri March 15th 2013 - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
Sat March 16th 2013 - HMV Institute, Birmingham
Mon March 18th 2013 - Leadmill, Sheffield
Tue March 19th 2013 - O2 ABC Glasgow, Glasgow
Wed March 20th 2013 - O2 Academy Liverpool, Liverpool
Fri March 22nd 2013 - The Ritz, Manchester
Sat March 23rd 2013 - The Ritz, Manchester
Tue March 26th 2013 - The Limelight, Belfast

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