TVD Live Shots:
Johnny Marr at the
9:30 Club, 11/09

Touring to promote his 2014 release, Playland, Johnny Marr kicked off an extensive North American tour at DC’s 9:30 Club with gusto—unleashing his groundbreaking guitar fury on an audience of fans who spanned generations, enthralled with Marr’s celebrated catalog of work.

Marr embodies the true English rock star persona with a sound that you hear from few artists these days, minus perhaps Marr’s pal Noel Gallagher, who recently joined him on stage during Marr’s set at London’s O2 Academy Brixton gig last month. Gallagher also recently announced that Marr will be featured on his upcoming March release, Chasing Yesterday.

With his signature melodies and his punctuated rhythms, Marr’s playing is part genius and part innovator. In my opinion, Marr is quite possibly one of the best guitarists of our time and with his incredible solo body of work and his brilliant legacy with The Smiths, Marr is certain to live forever in hearts—and on turntables—for ages. (NME “Godlike Genius,” indeed.)

As for the hardcore Smiths fans who seemed to prowl the floor of the club at Johnny’s last two DC appearances, Marr dishes out plenty of classic favorites, enough to keep the crowd guessing as to what might come next and still not take away from his newer work. For this stop he included “Panic” and “How Soon Is Now?” among others into his set.

One memorable moment from the show was when Marr posed a simple question to audience members in the front row who seemed to be excessively taking cell phone photos, asking “why don’t you guys just go get your own darkroom trays and put these pictures in those…” then laughing about it. Marr was in good spirits however, and he humbly thanked the crowd for coming out on a Sunday night for his show.

For his final song of the night, Marr announced to those assembled, “I want to dedicate this next song to everyone at the 9:30 Club tonight, and no one else,” before launching into another Smiths classic, “There Is a Light that Never Goes Out.”

Personally, I thought nothing could top Johnny’s 2013 performance— and I couldn’t have been more wrong. It seems Marr gets better with every passing year. Long live Johnny fucking Marr.


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