Johnny, Johnny, Johnny F@#king Marr! The chant that is synonymous with his gigs rings out around The Old Fire Station in Bournemouth on this Saturday evening. You couldn’t get another person in the venue if you tried, every single bit of space was taken and that even included the photo pit. Definitely the smallest one that I have been in but this made it even more intimate than this gig already was tonight.
Johnny is currently out touring a few small venues around the country in support of his new album ‘Fever Dreams Pts 1-4’ before embarking on an arena tour as support for Blondie. Fever Dreams has seen Johnny move into bringing through a more electronic sound which in contrast to his previous album ‘Call The Comet’ embraced a post punk vibe. The album has also been released as four, four track, EPs, two of which were available before the album dropped and two for release further into this year.
There was only an hour tonight between doors and Johnny being on stage, these smaller shows also only went on sale the week before the gig but sold out in rapid time. The lights come down dead on 9pm, Johnny is flanked, as usual, by his trusty lieutenants Doviak and Iwan Gronow with Jack Mitchell on the sticks. Opening with the synth heavy ‘Armatopia’ we didn’t have to wait long for the first The Smith’s number as ‘Panic’ was next before we were treated to a five song run of material from the latest album which included ‘Spirit, Power & Soul’ and ‘Night and Day’.
Johnny asks the crowd if they have any requests to which many are shouted back before he began to play one of the most recognisable chord structures to ‘This Charming Man’ sending the crowd into a mass singalong! This is followed by one of my all time personal live favourites “Getting Away With It’ from Marr’s days in Electronic with Bernard Sumner and Neil Tennant; the guitar solo from in the middle of this song is a thing of beauty for me. In a rare occurrence Johnny’s guitar is slightly out of tune as he begins the next number and he promptly asks the crowd ‘does anyone have an in tune guitar out there?’ As we wait we are assured by Marr that’ this is going to be f@#king brilliant, I guarantee you’ and he wasn’t wrong with ‘Ghoster’, a song that is hidden at the tail end of the new album, but one that is an absolute belter!
A rendition of ‘Get The Message’ is always pleasure to hear played live before Marr dedicates ‘There Is a Light That Never Goes Out’ to ‘everyone in here and nobody else’. This Smith’s tune is always a staple of the setlist! A couple more solo numbers are given a live outing with ‘Counter Clock World’ being one of them which features the current Primal Scream bassist, Simone Butler on the album version. Johnny and the band close out the gig with ‘Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others’ and ‘How Soon Is Now’ which is a perfect way of reminding us of his signature guitar sound!