After an extensive touring schedule surrounding the release of his first two solo albums, Johnny Marr has been off the gig circuit for a couple of years, hard at work on his autobiography ‘Set The Boy Free’ and the follow up to the 2014 released ‘Playland’; ‘Call The Comet’. Just last month, he announced that the new album would be released in June, dropping a dark and brooding new track titled ‘The Tracers’ and a twelve date tour that would see him visit intimate venues across the UK, America and Canada. We were lucky to catch him at one of our favourite venues; The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds.
It’s no secret that Marr is a fan of the Brudenell as not only has he played there on several occasions, it was the venue that both opened and closed ‘The Messenger’ tour. Accompanied by his band, Marr stormed the stage at the early time of 8:15pm, diving straight into ‘The Tracers’ before the raucous ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’. As exciting as it was to hear the Smiths classic, the highlight was what came next; a segment of the show that featured purely brand new material; including the melodic ‘Jeopardy’ and infectiously catchy ‘Day In Day out’, as well as his new single ‘Hi Hello’ that was released just last week.
Despite being marketed as an album launch show, Marr more than succeeded in delivering a varied set-list to cater to all fans; from the classic Marr licks of Electronic’s ‘Getting Away With It’ and ‘Playland’ single ‘Easy Money’, to an emotive rendition of ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ (complete with a huge singalong) and an introduction to the intense and brooding new track ‘Walk Into The Sea’, which echos ‘Say Demesne’ from ‘The Messenger’. Another intense offering was the chilling ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me’, showcasing some of Marr’s strongest vocals of the night.
The set-list appeared to be slightly longer than those of previous tours, though Marr’s energy wasn’t affected and when he wasn’t singing and playing guitar in his central spot, he was bouncing around during his many genius guitar solos at the edge of the stage, centimeters away from the adoring fans on the front row. Fans that were particularly delighted to hear him play ‘Spiral Cities’; a track that he introduced on tour back in 2015, that has made its way onto ‘Call The Comet’.
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The set ended with psychedelic new track ‘Actor Attractor’, with the band returning with a sublime rendition of Smiths favourite ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’, silencing the room and bringing tears to many eyes. As generous as ever with Smithstracks, ‘You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby’ was last; inclusive of a restart with Marr joking that everybody else was in the wrong key, but he was prepared to change to accommodate them. Based on the wealth of new tracks that were played and the reaction that they received, the hype around Marr’s third album is very much justified and with his perfectly crafted set lists and incredibly tight band, the inevitable tour that will come alongside the album is not one to be missed!
‘Call The Comet’ is due for release on Friday 15th June and available to pre-order in various formats and bundles from the official Johnny Marr store. The next couple of weeks see him and his band continue the album launch tour with shows across Europe, the US and Canada.