The Null Device

And if a double-decker bus...

Morrissey I just came back from the Morrissey show, and it rocked.

First up were the support band, for whom I didn't care much. Pretty much back-to-basics '70s rock, with a few glam elements. I think they were called The Anyones or something.

Then Morrissey came on. A recording poem (by John Betjeman, I believe) was played, then Moz came on, launching into I Want The One I Can't Have, to riotous applause. He went on stage wearing a simple black shirt, and his trademark short back and sides; a middle-aged man, somewhat paunchy, but unmistakably Morrissey. The crowd (many of whom undoubtedly grew up listening to The Smiths) loved him. He sang a number of old songs (Suedehead, Hairdresser On Fire (with the words changed subtly), a heartfelt rendition of Meat is Murder, Everyday is Like Sunday (with a banjo)), November Spawned A Monster (with some funk guitar, and a clarinet) and some new numbers (more on those later).

Anyway, Morrissey put on a great show; singing with gusto and passion, his voice as clear, emotive and vulnerable as ever, and dancing around the stage, with the sorts of stylised gestures of awkwardness and ungainliness that were so Morrissey. In between sets, he engaged the audience with banter (at one stage announcing that he had nothing with the company named Morrissey which sold see-through underwear, and getting stuck into the media and the meat industry); his speaking voice is a lot deeper than his singing voice.

Morrissey And Morrissey's new songs are quite good; The First Of The Gang To Die is a classic Morrissey ballad crooned over guitar rock, written in Morrissey's new Los Angeles home. The World Is Full Of Crushing Bores was the sort of thing you could expect from Morrissey; disdain for the vulgar world we live in, with a touch of that famous smothering self-pity. Irish Blood, English Heart is a meditation on England past and present ("I'm dreaming of a time when the English are sick to death of Labour and the Tories..."). It's clear that, as a songwriter, Morrissey is in fine form. I for one will probably buy his next album on the day it comes out.

The show ended with Morrissey removing his shirt and throwing it into the audience, where it was undoubtedly torn to tiny pieces, each of which will be cherished by whoever got it, and leaving the stage, telling us that God, Oscar Wilde and someone else whose name escapes me were with us. Shortly later he came back on, in a plain white shirt, and performed There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, to riotous applause; people were singing along with it in the audience. He thanked the audience and left the stage, leaving the band to finish the song.

(Security was notionally tight, with bags being half-heartedly checked for cameras and recording devices. However, I managed to sneak a camera and a minidisc recorder in in my pockets. I got some photos, but as far as recording goes only succeeded in finding out what an effective low-pass filter a coat pocket makes, and why one should always monitor with headphones when recording a gig. I doubt much could be salvaged of the recording. Time to invest in a good-quality lapel mike for next time, I think; either that or not take photos and record at the same time.)

Morrissey Morrissey Morrissey Morrissey Morrissey Morrissey Morrissey Morrissey

Update: Photographs of this gig now reside in this gallery.

There are 15 comments on "And if a double-decker bus...":

Posted by: Ben Tue Oct 15 23:09:50 2002

My housemate went; she said the support band 'sucked' and that Moz was pretty toned for an old bloke... she had a great time.

But where was the boy with the thorn in his side?

Posted by: Luke Wed Oct 16 05:13:57 2002

The support band - the Lovetones, I believe - were OK. They're Drop City Mk II, basically, so if you know Matt Tow's work, you get what you pay for. New songs are available - it's "Crashing" bores, incidentally - over at ambitious-outsiders. Boz Boorer is looking more and more like Brian Blessed these days, though...

Posted by: Luke Wed Oct 16 05:14:30 2002

Oh, and the poem was "A Child Ill".

Posted by: Ben Wed Oct 16 07:25:35 2002

Ahhh... the Lovetones. That explains everything, then.

Brian Blessed rocks!

Posted by: Luke Wed Oct 16 07:32:32 2002

I think Boz should take to bellowing "Gordon's ALIVE?!" midway through the set, in homage.

Posted by: Graham Wed Oct 16 08:49:42 2002

Heh. Great photos, even if Morrissey isn't exactly my cup of tea.

Posted by: Klaus Dinger Wed Oct 16 09:17:57 2002

The support in Melbourne was definitely The Anyones, not The Lovetones. I was a little disappointed with their set... I saw them some years back playing a stripped back set at the Rob Roy and didn't mind them. They seem to be turning into The Fauves.

Morrissey was ok, I'm more of a Smiths / Johnny Marr fan though.

Posted by: acb Wed Oct 16 09:38:33 2002

I liked what his band are doing now; the funk guitar on <I>November</I> was a nice touch, as was the clarinet bit. And they certainly played enthusiastically.

Posted by: sc http:// Wed Oct 16 21:30:42 2002

i saw the anyones at the tote with magic dirt a few months ago and they really rocked. they're a small venue band.

we're all smiths fans. morrissey on his own is pure novelty.

Posted by: Luke Thu Oct 17 01:39:27 2002

Them's fighting words. Vauxhall and I has a sense of flow and steady build that doesn't exist on most Smiths albums. They're different entities, just as valid. Though I still don't really get "Dagenham Dave".

Posted by: Klaus Dinger http:// Thu Oct 17 09:20:28 2002

Morrissey's solo work suffers from the absence of Johnny Marr in the same way that the post-breakup solo albums of a lot of bands do when a songwriting partnership is broken. With the exception of "Viva Hate" which features the eternally under-rated Vini Reilly.

Posted by: Klaus Dinger http:// Thu Oct 17 09:21:29 2002

Without wanting to sound too negative (which I just did)... he put on a good show the other night. The voice is still in fine shape.

Posted by: Graham Thu Oct 17 12:34:54 2002

So, any chance of another Neu! album, Klaus?

Posted by: Luke Thu Oct 17 14:35:56 2002

Klaus; bullshit. The White/Boorer/Morrissey songwriting unit is producing stuff that's equally exciting and meaningful without being as necessarily florid as Marr's style would infer. True, there's no "Sing Your Life" on every album, but to bin them all because there's no fucking limp-haired Marr on them is a bit tiresome; and generally proves that the people slagging them haven't actually listened.

Posted by: Klaus Dinger http:// Thu Oct 17 15:29:05 2002

Limp haired Johnny Marr... yeah righto. Down off your soapbox. Let's not take the revisionism too far eh?

Horses for courses, I like Johnny Marr. That was a classic voice/guitar combination. New band's good though, no doubt about it.

re: new album - have run out of coloured textas, which is holding up the artwork. ;-)