Morrissey at Troxy
The former Smiths frontman returns to Troxy in Limehouse. He sets the mood with vintage footage ranging from clips of the Vietnam War to black-and-white scenes from the Isle of Dogs, and Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin in Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus, along with incredible dance sequences performed by the Nicholas brothers; meanwhile in another section you hear Kenneth Williams say, “This man, Morrissey, is a revelation”, and further clips show Siouxie and the Banshees, David Bowie and literary master James Baldwin.
Morrissey takes a bow, to uproarious applause, and drives right into his beloved debut solo hit single, Suedehead. Though a timeless classic, it isn’t the lightly melodised version fans know so well, but done in a heavier fashion – a recurring theme in this performance. The sound is noticeably poorly balanced, and although Morrissey’s vocals are on top form, the music disappointingly overwhelms him. Despite this, the song still conjures nostalgic memories, an immediate highlight with its unforgettable lyrics and double entendre.
Morrissey is a quick-witted, sharp-tongued artist, and this is reflected in most – if not all – his material. He precedes Sure Enough, the Telephone Rings by proclaiming facetiously, “Yesterday I was making sensual love in the woods”. The first Smiths track tonight, Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before, thankfully retains its jangly guitar goodness, complemented by cool synthesiser notes and transporting listeners to those halcyon Smiths days. Despite losing popularity in recent years, there is a solid sense that Morrissey is making good music again, which is demonstrated through Istanbul, with its iridescent bass rhythms and instrumental interludes. Continuing to display his creativity, the singer quips, “This song will be released in 43 years”, before belting out The Night Pop Dropped, featuring his signature melancholic yet thought-provoking lyrics, infused with gorgeous purple and red lighting. The band lineup is very different from previous years, and it is refreshing to see women on the stage.
Our Frank, with a backdrop of Frankenstein’s monster, is a soft rendition where one can hear more of the artist’s vocals. Similarly, Half a Person is a beautiful little gem. That said, the overall set feels lacklustre; it is unsurprising that much of the crowd look subdued and bored.
The singer is in fine voice, but leaves his fans somewhat short-changed by producing a brief set and leaving them visibly perplexed at the sudden end. It is an unshakeable feeling that Morrissey never seems to completely rise to the occasion, though beloved by thousands. Nonetheless, as the title of his forthcoming album reflects, “without music the world dies”, which keeps the fans coming back for more.
Photos: Colin Moody/Troxy
For further information and future events visit Morrissey’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Suedehead here: