Johnny Marr: Marr than a feeling

Smiths guitarist doesn’t trade on old glories but eventually gives crowd a taste of his past

Artist: Johnny Marr

Venue: Electric Arena

Date Reviewed: September 1st, 2013

Stars:****

Finally. We’ve waited all weekend for a bona fide musical hero to come along, and in he struts at 5.30pm on Sunday. If he was so inclined, this could easily have been a walk in the park for Johnny Marr: play the tunes that everyone knows, go through the motions, move on to the next gig. But this is no lazy throwback set of Smiths covers.

With a fine solo album in The Messenger under his belt, Marr leads his fine band through the strident punky rock of Generate! Generate!, the poppy Upstarts and the ruminative New Town Velocity, pulling the sort of poses that any self-respecting rock star ought to in the process.

There are some Smiths tunes too, of course: how thrilling it is to hear Bigmouth Strikes Again and How Soon is Now played by the man who wrote their melodies, while There Is a Light That Never Goes Out initiates one of the loudest crowd singalongs we’ve heard all weekend. A masterclass in musicianship.