Johnny Marr – Call the Comet

If you grew up when I did, and liked the kind of music I did, and love guitars, then Johnny Marr is IT!  The Cure, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie & The Banshees,  and of course The Smiths! When I was a teenager I don’t even think we had a name for it. I wasn’t goth, it was well before everything was some obscure sub-genre, I didn’t even hear the term “emo” until years later. I always referred to it as “alternative” or English Alternative.”  That instantly recognizable guitar sound of The Smiths, courtesy of Marr’s unique playing style. This brings us to Marr’s second straight New Your show on the Call the Comet Tour. d4d_0834.jpgThe night before being a sold out show at Irving Plaza in NYC, this show, a packed crowed at The Warsaw in Brooklyn. This would be the first time I was lucky enough to see Johnny Marr perform, kind of….

I was lucky enough to attend, and photograph, him at the The Gramercy on his book tour. This was awesome, my first time seeing Marr in person. He talked about his book, Set The Boy Free, told wonderful stories, AND tied it all together by playing classic guitar riffs that all related to his stories! If all this wasn’t enough, I got to meet the legend after the show. I must say, this was the most nervous I’ve ever been meeting a musician. He was SO NICE, and even said not to be nervous, as I was clearly awestruck.

We talked briefly, and I was excited to tell him what a wonderful job he did designing his custom Fender Jaguar guitar, and that I owned one in Olympic White. He was very pleased to hear this and I got the impression if the situation were different he would have been happy to sit and talk about it!

So now fast forward to October 16th, 2018 at The Warsaw. This day I was just civilian, no camera, just the ticket I purchased. I know, I know, just go to the show, enjoy, have a great time and don’t worry about photos. That my friends, is easier said than done. I can’t help but “see the shots” I’m not getting. Let me tell you, the shots  would have been awesome! D75_3078His lighting was challenging and ever changing, but great! And let me tell you, the performance, INCREDIBLE! He was definitely posing for the photographers that were there, giving them great shots.  I must say, obviously but I’ll say it anyway, I’d love to be his tour photographer, at least for a few shows. Really learn his set, his moves, where and when the light hits, what shots to get, where to be and when. To have all access to shoot him like that would be incredible. I could see the shots, so epic, Johnny Marr’s show is full of simple wondrous imagery. (That’s not complaining about not getting to shoot, I really want to make my point about what a complete production this was and my vision for the shots) Anyway, I digress. Did I use that properly? Anyway……

Marr has been in several bands and worked on several projects since The Smiths, including Modest Mouse and The Pretenders. He just released his third solo album under his own name, Call the Comet. I am least familiar with this album as I waited to buy it on vinyl at the show and only streamed it a few time before that. This latest release seems to be the least “poppy” of the three, which may not be 100% accurate? Not that “Bug” isn’t super catchy and could certainly be a radio hit, this album just has a different feel to me, deeper musically maybe, a “bigger, fuller” sound? I guess what I’d recommend is that you get all three and listen to them, a lot. All his solo albums are incredible, The Messenger (2013), Playland (2014), Call the Comet (2018). Just like every review I write, I’m not going to analize the hell out of it. I can only express my feelings about the music, the emotions it draws upon. If you think its something you connect with, then check it out.

Now lets clear this up, I am a huge Johnny Marr fan and was there to hear Johnny Marr songs. I’m also a huge Smiths, and Morrissey fan. Those are three completely different things. I’ve seen Morrissey several times and each show I go to hear Morrissey songs. Now when Morrissey does Smiths songs, and when Johnny did Smiths songs that night, it is truly special, pure magic. Thats just an extra unexpected bonus.

How is Johnny Marr not one of, if not the biggest rock star in the world? If you’ve seen him perform you are probably asking yourself the same thing.D75_3036 Man, I wish I took photos of this show, the way he plays to the crowd, the facial expressions, the looks he gives. I could go on and on about his performance, it was mesmerizing.

Do I need to talk about his guitar playing? I’d say not to much, because you already know how marvelous it is. Well, just to talk a little about it, he played two guitars that night. Both his signature Fender Jaguars, one sparkle white, and one Lake Placid blue. I was curious about the blue one all night because it had a differnt pickup in the neck position. It was not one of his custom Bare Knuckle pickups. Being in Johnny band must be a trip, let me tell you, these guys were good. I mean, obviously right? You’d have to be, they were solid and sounded great!

As you can see Johnny played songs from all three of his solo albums as well as some Smiths classics, and would you believe it, even an Electronic tune!

  • The Tracers
  • Bigmouth Strikes Again
    (The Smiths song) 
  • Jeopardy
  • Day In Day Out
  • New Dominions
  • Hi Hello
  • The Headmaster Ritual
    (The Smiths song)
  • Walk Into the Sea
  • Getting Away With It
    (Electronic song)
  • Hey Angel
  • Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me
    (The Smiths song)
  • Bug
  • Get the Message
    (Electronic song)
  • Easy Money
  • Boys Get Straight
  • How Soon Is Now?
    (The Smiths song)
  • Encore:
  • Rise
  • Spiral Cities
  • There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
    (The Smiths song)
  • You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby
    (The Smiths song)

Johnny Marr is heading back to the UK to finish out this years shows. If you missed him this time, don’t make that mistake again, and make sure to pick up all three albums! For all the latest news, merchandise, and tour dates www.johnnymarr.com

links we like:

Johnny Marr FaceBook

Industry Music Magazine

Frisketti Photo

Frisketti.com

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