Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

CultureWatch: The Genius Of Johnny Marr At The Fillmore

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 5, 2013

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Some days it seems as if the universe is conspiring to provide me with exactly what I need, in the right amounts,  and at the right time. Johnny Marr, the former guitarist of The Smiths, playing just down the street from me at The Fillmore -- was concrete proof of this conspiracy. 

He started off with the first track from his new solo album "The Messenger," demonstrating his guitar genius by playing just the one sustained note that opens "The Right Thing Right." The title of the song is also its best description.

There's no need for Johnny Marr to prove himself with flashy guitar licks, and theatrical moves, as his mid-gig special guest, Billy Duffy from The Cult, did.

Johnny Marr's singing was very good, and so was the performance of the young backup band touring with him. And he's a very modest man, far from a rock and roll stereotype, but totally absorbed in the roots of the music.

And he finished the set with what must be the best guitar intro ever: The Smith's "How Soon Is Now?"

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The venue was hot and everyone was dripping, and it must have been much worse on stage. Before he came on for the encore he changed into a dry, loose fitting white T-shirt with three large words, one on each line: "Johnny Fucking Marr." Indeed.

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Below, there's a clip of Noel Gallagher from Oasis talking about The Smiths, and Johnny Marr around 1.20 min, and his unique talent. He tells a story related by Johnny Marr, describing how he tried  to recreate his intro to "How Soon Is Now"  and it's like a five minute comedy sketch, and he just can't do it. "Even he's not as good as he is." Brilliant. Thank you universe for a superb night.

More:

Johnny Marr to collect Godlike Genius prize at NME Awards 2013

Fans Have New Reason to Worship Johnny Marr - NYTimes.com

Rolling Stone: The Smiths' Johnny Marr and Andy Rourke Reunite in Brooklyn to Play 'How Soon Is Now?' Marr closes solo show with surprise reunion.

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