Camp Bestival – Johnny Marr

August 2, 2014

Johnny Marrs exhilarating Camp Bestival Friday night main stage performance most certainly reinforced one thing: this is a man moving forward, without forgetting to take a glimpse back.

Somewhat fittingly, Marr opened with his first single as a solo artist, Upstarts and ended – as is now customary – with arguably his most celebrated piece of work: There is a Light That Never Goes Out. Perhaps the most striking aspect to note here is the seeming transformation and indeed, the progression of Marr as a solo artist. Whilst for some, he will always been seen as one part of arguably Manchesters finest musical export, his prowess as both a front man and a vocalist should not be underestimated; there is all the swagger and verve of his signature jangly guitars as there is when singing songs from his critically acclaimed album The Messenger, such as Generate! Generate! and New Town Velocity.

Playing a storming set full of classics, there was certainly no sign of personal indulgence from the Mancunian legend. Indeed, alongside Smiths tracks from the old country such as Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want, Panic, How Soon Is Now and Stop Me If You Think Youve Heard This One Before, he also included a raucous rendition of The Clashs iconic 1979 cover, I Fought The Law.

Whilst Marr will always hold a special place in many hearts with his intense, yet enigmatic time with The Smiths, he has once again reinforced his continued importance within popular music as he approaches the October release of his second solo record, Playland.

Matt Taylor

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