Morrissey mania for grown-ups

Following a very lucky break at the third, and what turned out to be the final, gig in Morrissey’s week-long London residency – Moz’s bad throat forced him to curtail then cancel the last three shows – I’ve been marvelling at the power of the Manc Miserablist’s PR machine. 

With the new single released last Monday and the Greatest Hits album due next Monday, Morrissey’s everywhere: Russell Brand show on E4, Jools Holland and Culture Show on BBC2 …   

The most visible press I’ve seen is the Smiths cover of the new (“March”) issue of MOJO.  It advertises several articles about Mr Gloomy of Manchester.  And MOJO’s sitting on the news-stand shelves right next to the Mozza cover on the front of the Feb issue of The Word.   

The de luxe 2CD Greatest Hits and the new MOJO are must-buys for those who get it (and those wondering what all the fuss is about).        

Gerry Smith 

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EARLIER RELATED ARTICLES: 

Coming very soon – Morrissey Week in London! 

Morrissey, one of the most revered of rockpop artists in his native land, returns to London next week with a six night residency at the recently reopened Roundhouse. 

Watch this space for the exclusive Music for Grown-Ups concert review – I’m due at the Wednesday gig. I expect the setlist to include a sizeable selection of the songs on Greatest Hits, Morrissey’s first compilation from his post-1997 releases (track list below), due on 11 February.  Plus some earlier solo material and the odd Smiths classic.     

Greatest Hits (de luxe version) tracklist: 1. First Of The Gang To Die  2. In The Future When All’s Well  3. I Just Want To See The Boy Happy  4. Irish Blood English Heart  5. You Have Killed Me  6. That’s How People Grow Up  7. Everyday Is Like Sunday  8. Redondo Beach  9. Suedehead  10. Youngest Wat The Most Loved  11. Last Of The Famous International Playboys  12. More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get  13. All You Need Is Me  14. Let Me Kiss You  15. I Have Forgiven Jesus  16. Alma Matters   

Disc: 2 – Live at Hollywood Bowl1. The Last of the Famous International Playboys  2. The National Front Disco  3. Let Me Kiss You  4. Irish Blood, English Heart  5. I Will See You in Far-off Places  6. First of the Gang to Die  7. I Just Want to See the Boy Happy  8. Life is a Pigsty   

Whooppee!  I can hardly wait.  Rave on, Mozza!  

Gerry Smith 

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Morrissey in London – pop for grown-ups  

Last night’s Morrissey gig at London’s Roundhouse – his third in a six night residency – was pure pop for grown-ups. 

The setlist was a mixture of recent and new solo material, with Irish Blood/English Heart, First Of The Gang To Die and Last Of The Famous International Playboys the standouts.  The forthcoming single, That’s How People Grow Up, will justify careful scrutiny. 

Mozza’s unique talent is pungent, wittily original lyrics, allied to an unmissable on-stage charisma: very few performers give good gig better than he.  His rapport with the faithful is wondrous to behold.   

Last night’s music was nothing to get excited about, though.  Trenchant lyrics apart, Morrissey’s solo work sounds pedestrian to my ears: too little variety in melody, tempo or dynamics.  No variation.  No improv.   

So his musos are in a straitjacket to start with.  But this crew sounded dull anyway.  And the sound, from stage left, 20 metres from the front, was muddy, too bassy, and Il Mozzo was too low in the mix. 

Morrissey was my first gig at the refurb’d Roundhouse.  Very impressive – it easily reclaims its traditional status as London’s premier rockpop venue.  Big enough for a 2,000 stand-up audience; small enough for intimate communion.  

Pity about the audience, though.  They’ve had to stop smoking (Hallelujah!), but most still yak incessantly, sing along as if they’re in the bath, and shuffle backwards and forwards to the bars all night long, spilling expensive beer from plastic mugs over innocent bystanders.   

All music venues, from the Royal Opera House to Ronnie Scott’s, attract more than their fair share of stiffs.  But rockpop gigs are notoriously bad: fully 50% of last night’s Roundhouse crowd were boneheads.    

Gerry Smith

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