Johnny Marr // Wedgewood Rooms
Among the archives I’ve just found this, it’s a review of Johnny Marr at The Wedge on 27th June that appears to have been lost in translation and never posted anywhere, forgive my at times painful cheesiness combined with blunt seriousness, it was written for a proper site and I couldn’t say “it was just really awesome and the loudest gig i’ve ever been to” like i do in my rambles here, naturally it’s a bit dated too but everyone loves The Marr.
“Were you there when night Johnny Marr blew the roof off The Wedge?” one local newspaper headline already had published in a nearby train station barely 10 hours after the man had left the stage, and as it happens – a mere 4 months since the release of his debut solo effort The Messenger – the answer to that question is yes, and it was storming.
From the moment doors opened, the sold out venue was immediately packed and brimming with overheard high expectations – there was no support, no pretense and within half an hour the Marr himself sauntered onstage bursting into The Right Thing Right – still rightly defining itself as the strutting monster of the LP, even more so live. The only natural way to follow that would be to whip out one of the big ones, admittedly surprisingly early into the set, Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before was launched causing the venue to descend into a mass rabble of arms and shouting voices, including Marr’s himself, despite claims his voice is weak, it certainly wasn’t showing tonight and it felt like it could even face up to Morrissey himself at times – possibly even better, but don’t tell him that.
The set continued in much the same manner with Sun & Moon and last single Upstarts still as energy paced as ever – or brimming with “ADRENALINE” as the man himself kept remarking – before a quick delve into Electronic‘s Forbidden City, incredible justice done once again of course, and The Smiths‘ London – a more ‘out there’ choice a startled man behind claimed – but again turning the crowd into a swirl of delight and Marr strutting around the stage with the rightful confidence of 30 years acknowledged in every grin.
The Messenger’s more standout types were delved into towards the end, the title track itself still proving the sweeping calm genius while Generate! Generate! and Word Starts Attack brought on more of that adrenaline with their crunching riffs that everyone in the room soon proved to be singable at any given quiet moment – a rare occurence in a venue quite so tiny, and undeniably the loudest gig in recent memory.
Bigmouth Strikes Again marked the final Smiths venture of the main set and got the best reception of the night, as well as presenting the musicians accompanying with some equally incredible talent, before new single New Town Velocity launched it’s sombre tones and showcased that, directly put against Morrissey’s finest lyrics of the previous track, Marr himself can write some incredible lines, and sing them with equal effects at that. Within minutes, I Want The Heartbeat had been thundered through and the stage had emptied leaving it up to the near bewildered while more than slightly impressed audience to launch into setting to work on changing the entire catalogue of every football chant with the word “Marr”.
He gladly obliged and the band crashed into an unexpected yet startlingly brilliant cover of The Cricket‘s I Fought The Law before debuting new track The It-Switch, only played a mere 3 times previous, but already sounding as brilliant as anything from the debut and, no doubt, will end up as a classic adored B side in true fashion of the man when it’s released at the end of the month. Electronic’s services were required again in the form of Getting Away With It, a quick warm up prior to the mammoth live performance of How Soon Is Now?, very little can quite beat the goosebumps obtained when the guitar breakdown kicks in, it shocks to the core of musical talent.
The final track, dedicated “to the fine people of Portsmouth, well, everyone here and no one outside”, was, inevitably, and it reduced the room to a nostalgic mass singalong of waving arms and faces filled with pure glee. By the time the final chord was played – with guitar balanced on the top of his head, naturally – and photos had been not so subtlely posed for, the man flounced off stage still oozing confidence and greatness from every inch.
Nobody knows Johnny Marr is undoubtedly one of the greatest musicians to witness – live and on record – better than Johnny Marr, and everything works better for it.
In other news, I saw EOTA smash the commie last night so that’ll be up tomorrow probably, and my Suede review is coming but you don’t appreciate how hard it is to write about them when you like them a lot other than “!!!!HE’S DEAD HE’S DEAD HE’S DEAD HE’S DEAD!!!!”
(Oh and if anyone wants my ticket for Merchandise at The Haunt (certified best venue ever) in Brighton on Friday for a tenner (think of all that £££££ saved) do hit me up)