When you’ve inspired the Stone Roses and Oasis, arguably two of the biggest modern bands to come out of England, words like pioneer, influential and significant can be used to describe you without irony or hyperbole. When your services and skills are sought out by many musical peers such at The The’s Matt Johnson, New Order’s Bernard Sumner, Neil Finn, the Pretenders, Pet Shop Boys, Bryan Ferry, Billy Bragg, Talking Heads and Beck, it’s fair to call you a legend.
Johnny Marr’s humility would likely evoke a lip curl from hearing such pronouncements, but when your career begins as a proper half of the Smiths plus a successful turn as frontman, perhaps he should allow it. The 2000s not only found Marr joining bands such as Modest Mouse and the Cribs, but also found his work on the big screen with his score for Christopher Nolan’s Inception. Throughout the post-Smith years, Marr remained busy with his solo career as well. With his band, The Healers to today with a gang of young hot shots, Marr has remained a man in charge and continued to produce music in his often imitated but ultimately inimitable style. Always the coolest motherfucker in the room, Marr added the position of author to his CV in 2016 with the release of his autobiography, Set the Boy Free and guitar designer with his Johnny Marr Signature Fender Jaguar in 2012. 2013 was the start of this latest run of solo albums, beginning with The Messenger. Strong in the Marr vein, Playland followed in 2014. And now, coming out on June 15 is his latest, Call The Comet. As an introduction to the new album, Marr hit the road for a select number of dates in smaller-than-usual venues including one show at the Velvet Underground in Toronto.
The show opened with Marr’s latest single, The Tracers demonstrating that the night would mainly focus on the new album by performing 7 songs off Call The Comet. While he only played a total of 3 songs off his previous albums with Boys Get Straight and Easy Monday off Playland and New Town Velocity from The Messenger. Of course, as half of the songwriting partnership of the Smiths, Marr also played Bigmouth Strikes Again, How Soon Is Now?, Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me, The Headmaster Ritual and There Is a Light That Never Goes Out. He even threw in Getting Away With It from Electronic’s 1989 self-titled album.
As with most shows Mr. Marr plays, it’s always to a room of adoring fans. Some long for the old days of the Smiths, but many more have followed Johnny Marr’s storied career and appreciated all the different places he’s taken them.
Johnny starts a proper tour to support Call The Comet on Sept. 15 including a return to Toronto on Oct. 19th.
Call The Comet is being released on June 15