Review: Johnny Marr, The Leadmill

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THE analogy between guitars and firearms is common, with wielders of the six-string instrument often likened to gunslingers. Some are quick on the draw, while others blaze away in the vain hope they will hit something worthwhile.

Johnny Marr would be a sniper, his one shot hitting the target in ultimate example of minimum effort effecting maximum result.

As guitarist for The Smiths, he changed the way the instrument was viewed and created a legion of ardant followers.

The longevity of those songs is highlighted by the five he played here. How Soon Is Now was obvious, London less so but the finale of There’s A Light That Never Goes Out revealed teenage boys and girls mouthing every word. And the lyrics are almost 30 years old.

At times, the show is surprisingly rock, although it has taken Marr a long time to stand at the front with his name above the door.

New material sits alongside old, with most of his solo album being played, including standout title track The Messenger. And there are other nods to the past, especially radio-friendly Getting Away With It, from Electronic, the duo he formed with New Order’s Bernard Sumner

The encore is storming and includes a straight-lift of The Clash’s take on Bobby Fuller’s version of I Fought The Law.

The neck of Marr’s guitar is vertical as the final note sounds. Perhaps he is finally living out some secret fantasies.