Friday 19 April 2024

Johnny Marr / Gaz Coombes - Nottingham Rock City - 14th April 2024

Johnny Marr has just wrapped up a ten-date tour in support of Spirit Power - a compilation album commemorating a decade since he embarked on his solo career. The tour saw the guitar legend perform at iconic venues across the UK, including Hammersmith Apollo and Glasgow Barrowlands, before culminating at Nottingham’s Rock City. Johnny's career has been interwoven with a multitude of musicians since its inception and he often embarks on tours with them. For his ‘Spirit Power’ tour, he was joined by Supergrass frontman and solo artist, Gaz Coombes.

Accompanied by his talented band, Gaz delivered a captivating set comprising of tracks from all four of the studio albums he's released since the launch of his solo career. After kicking things off with Salamander, Gaz wowed the crowd with Don’t Say It’s Over - the first of four tracks from his latest album, Turn The Car Around. From the gritty Feel Loop (Lizard Dream) to the vibrant Deep Pockets, Gaz's new tracks impressed and demonstrated his evolution into a fully established solo performer. Though that's not to diminish Gaz's older material and his acoustic rendition of The Girl Who Fell To Earth was one of the most beautiful moments of his set, highlighting both the strength of his vocals and his prowess as a songwriter. After a stellar rendition of the gospel-tinged 20/20, Gaz brought the set to a triumphant close with the swagger-fuelled Walk The Walk. One of the UK's most underrated and talented songwriters, Gaz truly delivered a set of epic proportions that garnered a reception worthy of a headliner.

Undoubtedly one of the tour's most intimate stages, Johnny and his band found themselves in close quarters, evoking memories of the intimate venues that they frequented during Johnny's inaugural solo tour. Following the synth-driven Sensory Street, the iconic Panic emerged as the first Smiths offering of the evening, igniting a euphoric response that set the tone for the rest of the night. Tracks from Johnny’s debut The Messenger are usually sparse from his set, so it was great to hear the duo of Generate! Generate! and New Town Velocity early on - the former offering pure exhilaration, while the latter offered one of Johnny’s most beautiful guitar breakdowns.

Sandwiched in-between This Charming Man and Walk Into The Sea was Somewhere - one of the highlights of the set that saw Johnny ditch his Fender Jaguar for an acoustic guitar. Performed in the style of the demo that features on Spirit Power, the sublime rendition was enhanced by the arrangement that was used at Johnny’s orchestral shows at Aviva Studios back in December. Johnny's mastery in curating a crowd-pleasing setlist is evident, and he never allowed the tempo to lag for long. Following a brooding performance of Walk into the Sea, he swiftly transitioned into The Answer - a fast paced track that highlights some of his most exhilarating guitar work to date.

While Johnny's solo work stole the spotlight, there was a moment when a flurry of material from his other projects took centre stage. Kicking off with a poignant rendition of The Smiths' beloved track Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want, Johnny then brought Gaz Coombes back onstage for Stop Me, paid tribute to his Electronic days with Get the Message and ensured that the crowds energy levels were higher than ever with the raucous Bigmouth Strikes Again.

As we approached the end of the main set, Johnny's song writing prowess shone through in the melodic charm of Hi Hello. Featuring jangly guitar riffs and gloomy keyboard melodies, the track stands out as one of Johnny's best, accentuating the power and silkiness of his vocals. The unmistakable tremolo sound of How Soon Is Now followed, before Easy Money and the captivating Electronic track Getting Away With It. Boasting a mesmerising guitar breakdown, the latter cast Johnny in the enchanting glow of a disco ball's light, leaving the crowd longing for an encore.

Johnny kickstarted the encore with a lively cover of The Passenger by Iggy Pop, which he performed on BBC Radio 2 earlier this year as part of their Piano Room Month. After expressing his gratitude to Gaz Coombes for joining him on tour, he warmly welcomed him back onstage to collaborate on the final two tracks of the night – You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby and There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. Both full of energy, they received a rapturous reaction from the crowd, with the latter resulting in one of the loudest singalongs that Rock City has ever experienced. Bringing one of his most successful tours to a triumphant close, the enormous smile on Johnny's face spoke volumes - he clearly relished every moment just as much as the rest of us did.

Johnny Marr's official website can be found here.  He is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Gaz Coombes' official website can be found here. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.


Follow Even The Stars on Twitter at @eventhestarsuk and like our Facebook page for all the latest updates

No comments:

Post a Comment