“Come on you lot!”
Johnny Marr probably talks to his band much differently today than he did in in previous arrangements.
But the past has a funny way of shaping your future, especially when those days were so important for entire generations of audiences.
If it seems Johnny is out there having fun, it’s because he genuinely is. With his first solo record on the books, and an equally game touring band backing him, Marr is able to be front and center without the weight of the world on his shoulders.
In a packed Apogee Studio in Santa Monica, Marr and his mates started fast and never let up.
Ripping through one fast-tempo indie jam after another, nearly all from his album “The Messenger“, there were times when it sounded like the songs were written in the mid-80s for another band in another country. I guess the past has a way of somehow always being present.
Fans were able to grin and nod away when they recognized new singles like “New Town Velocity” and the title track “The Messenger”. Johnny mentioned its a lost art nowadays to have a song with the same name as the album.
As Marr got deeper into the album, he never left the audience behind waiting for something more “recognizable.”
For instance, before playing the anthemic punk song “Lockdown”, Johnny started off by saying “I was watching British T.V. and this man had a show about the crappiest coastal towns in the U.K. and I thought, ‘what a pompous jerk!’ Well, I’m playing indie rock songs in L.A., so how about that!” The crowd appreciated that.
But before it was all done, Johnny gave the people what they wanted. As he told Jason in their interview, “I go to rock shows and I want to hear the songs I know.” Johnny had a keen sense of what the people wanted while he damn-near perfectly found his way through some of The Smiths’ most popular songs like “Bigmouth Strikes Again” the lullaby of “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” a cover of The Crickets’ “I Fought the Law” all before ending it with “How Soon Is Now”.
It was a fantastic showcase of Marr’s talent and bottomless energy. His enthusiasm and presence on stage whisks you away from jukebox mentality and you settle in to simply enjoying a great rock show.
Besides, he knows what you want, and he’s happy to oblige.
Johnny Marr Live on KCRW – Set List
Sun And Moon
New Town Velocity
Bigmouth Strikes Again (The Smiths)
Word Starts Attack
Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want (The Smiths)
I Fought The Law (The Crickets)
How Soon Is Now? (The Smiths)