Johnny Marr at Brixton Academy
On 6th October Playland, the second solo album from Manchurian guitarist-turned-singer Johnny Marr was released to commercial success, charting at number nine in the UK and receiving positive reviews. The initial focus for any musician with a live gig is to promote and generate sales for their new material, especially as the Brixton crowd tonight also contained an iPhone photo-taking, 20-something audience that were pre-womb during Marr’s fame with The Smiths and Electronic.
Things started off as predicted, as the guitar maestro entered the stage with a green pulsating LED screen baring the name of the album behind him. Marr and his band kicked off with title track Playland, followed by lead single Easy Money, Dynamo, Speak Out Reach Out and Candidate, among others.
However, for the fans tonight was a time to celebrate Marr’s musical history instead of his fresh creations. His guitar superiority and the songs from his accomplished musical families were embraced. Electronic’s Getting Away With It and the ironically titled The Smith’s song Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before were historic examples.
In his semicentennial year, he hasn’t decided to take it easy but gives the audience a rock show of past years; full of jumping, guitar-lifting, posing and crowd interaction. His rapport with the audience was a sign of comfortable self-assuredness, as he made a peace sign, expressed gratitude and explained the meaning of several songs (even if it was expletive, mysteriously political and nonsensical at times) before blossoming with a Q&A. The good relationship continued when he appreciatively dedicated his cover of There Is a Light that Never Goes Out to “everybody in this room and nobody else”.
The best was yet to come for the Brixton crowd, as even though the older audience probably anticipated with a high probability that he would end his set with The Smith’s How Soon Is Now?, the mystery compatriot performing with him was delightfully surprising. As described sarcastically by Marr as “a friend of mine with a big future on stage”, the guest was revealed to be fellow Manchurian and hairstyle brother Noel Gallagher. This was the last treat for a satisfied audience and completed a night of continuous hard-hitting rock, highlighting Johnny Marr’s influence in the British music industry.
Matt Taylor Hobbs
Photo: Robert Taddeo
For further information about Johnny Marr and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Easy Money here: