Johnny Marr has been a immensely influential instigator with an array of acts such as The Smiths, Electronic, The The, The Pretenders, The Cribs plus Modest Mouse and he has also registered session work with a list of greats that would take a book rather than a review to celebrate.
When great guitarist polls are littered with exhibitionists who are full of flash Marr can stand alongside that pomp because he is genuinely original as well being gifted with an unparalleled playing ability. It is not over the top frantic fretboard frenzy it is building seminal song structures from a six string stance that is both diverse and diligent. Marr came in as fourth-best guitarist of the last 30 years in a 2010 BBC poll and NME awarded him the Godlike Genius award in 2013. Phil Alexander of Mojo magazine places Johnny as ‘arguably Britain’s last great guitar stylist’. Therefore, for us mere mortals to be in the presence of this performer is an exalted experience.
Johnny Marr came, saw and conqured the Welsh capital for the second time in a matter of weeks. After his BBC6 Festival success at Cardiff University it was a quick return for more adoration from another full house at a much larger venue than on his previous visit. On this occasion it was a Marr-velous gathering at the Motorpoint Arena and the main man plucked pristine product from across the catalogue of projects he has scored. On this date it means top tunes from his association with The Smiths and Electronic plus solo material – with the end result being musical Midas.
Panic, This Charming Man, How soon is Now and There is a light that never goes Out came from the Morrissey alliance meanwhile Getting away with It and Get the Message sprung from the Sumner union. Need you know more? Well, yes! Our Johnny has also created a colossal career as a singular entity and this is proven by the appearance of the likes of a range of popular indie – dance – rock hybrids. Of this bunch of beauties – Easy Money, Walk into the Sea as well as new favourites such as Spirit power and Soul united with Night and Day led the pack of the Marr-auders unleashed.
This occasion was a support slot as the warm up for Blondie but without a shadow of doubt Marr stole the evening with both his creativity, content and charisma. He was ably supported by a tight band and that enabled his showmanship to shine. This Johnny is still regal not rotten and 40 years on from our first foray into his groove galaxy this Mancunian Maverick can still hit a chord with an adoring audience who freely sang along with the anthems. Quite simply, it was a Marr-jestic Sunday and let’s hope that this Lancastrian legend returns to the principality in the near future!