A room full of Johnny Marr fans is moved to tears.
You’re likely to recognise Johnny Marr through his diverse history: being crowned NME’s Godlike Genius; his work with some teeny-tiny band Mancunian band back in the 80’s… or a recent two (stupefying impressive) solo albums, the latter of which he happens to be midway through touring as he blesses the ground of Cardiff’s Great Hall with his presence, like a true guitar god indeed.
Support act Childhood open on a high note and get this regretfully sober crowd moving. With blissful guitar solos interrupted by the squalling effects laid down by frontman Ben Romans-Hopcraft in order to “Keep the crowd on their toes!” – one of Indie’s brightest collectives needn’t rely on physical shock to keep our interests peaked.
Responding to the chants of ‘JOHNNY FUCKIN’ MARR’, the Marr man finally appears. Kicking off with the title track of his ‘Playland’ album – sounding as dapper as the vintage green suit/pink shirt combo he elegantly sports, he dives into ‘Easy Money’; a hard-hitting, progressively disco-ey tune. Blasting though several Smiths classics (‘Panic’; ‘Stop Me…”; ‘Bigmouth…”) Marr keeps the set list fresh enough to not make himself a martyr to the Smiths’ name (this means not succumbing to the pressure of ‘This Charming Man’ requests at every show…). He throws in a cover or two for good measure (all crowd-sing-a-long pressure is alleviated by a rabble-rousing ‘I Fought The Law’), and an acoustic version of ‘Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want’, which actually moves the room to tears.
Finishing the encore with a well-received (if slightly out-of-time, but who cares!?) ‘How Soon Is Now?’, people argue that he is bastardising a series of timeless Smiths classics. In all honesty we can’t hear those few over this one-off live experience, and really, we don’t want to. Don’t start jumping up and down for a Smiths reunion when all you need is Johnny. Fuckin’. Marr.