Johnny Marr in Cardiff!
These days, I’m only vaguely comfortable attending concerts where I’m not the oldest person in the room. Thus, the Cardiff University date on Johnny Marr’s “Playland” tour was a perfect fit, jam-packed with young hipsters and old gits alike.
In support were Childhood, who provided some dreamy, melodic guitar pop, and were pleasingly prone to the occasional psychedelic wig-out.
It’s almost 30 years since I saw The Smiths live, during which time Johnny Marr has steadily built his guitar-hero credentials on his work as a side-man. Now, though, he seems to have finally blossomed as a band-leader, displaying the same bantering faux-modest swagger as his spiritual heirs Miles Kane and Alex Turner. While his earlier material seemed to call out for Morrissey to add some magic, the songs from his latest album seem musically denser and more direct, suiting his increasingly confident vocals, the latest single “Easy Money” going down especially well on the night. Which isn’t to say that he didn’t mine his back catalogue – several songs from his old band made the cut, with “Bigmouth Strikes Again” joyfully received and “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” a particularly affecting moment; Electronic’s “Getting Away With It” was another highlight. A surprise encore of “I Fought The Law” and a climactically trance-like “How Soon Is Now” provided a bracingly emotional coda. Legendary.