Sunday, November 16, 2014

Johnny Marr @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Johnny Marr
@ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY - November 15, 2014

Johnny Marr came out to Brooklyn almost a year to the day after his last visit, as he's making up for lost time with these banged out solo records. He apologized for appearing in Brooklyn without facial hair. An easy remark to make but it's telling - this legendary guitarist from a time gone by knows the modern score and can have a laugh at it (having a laugh is always a key measure to how a performance is going to go; Mr. Marr has been known to have associated with some other legendary figures who, as brilliant as they can musically be, could sometimes afford to make a better effort at having a laugh).

In addition to his stunningly sharp new solo work - namely "The Right Thing Right" and the insanely good "Easy Money" - he played, and sang lead on, a lot of notable numbers from one of his old bands: "Panic", "The Headmaster Ritual", "Big Mouth Strikes Again", "How Soon is Now?" (with help from the Roots' Captain Kirk Douglas) and the show stopping "There is a Light That Never Goes Out". His similarities in vocal style to the original lead singer on these songs borders on the creepy but one supposes it should not be surprising. There was also "Getting Away With It" from his work in Electronic and a cover of Iggy's "Lust for Life". This was a damn fine show.

It was a damn fine show in how it was both intimate and big. If Johnny Marr had been a distant customer, it would have been professional but hollow. Instead, with his affable ease and calm maturity (a maturity matched by a disturbing inability to age), he gave a club feel to a big house production. That sensibility would serve a lot of rock n rollers well and maybe if people take a cue, we could still go places with this rock n roll racket (I might be alluding to what you think I am alluding to and you'd be right to a degree and I will never write of it even in allusion form ever again).


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