Close this search box.

Johnny Marr and Orchestra rocks Aviva Studios in a night of musical brilliance

In a historic night at Factory International, Johnny Marr, accompanied by an orchestra, mesmerised the audience with a seamless blend of solo hits, Smiths classics, and electrifying Electronica tunes.

In a historic live performance at the new Factory International Aviva Studios, it’s only fitting that one of our own took the stage.

Johnny Marr. A Man who needs no introduction. 

He’s been in an incredible group of bands: The Smiths, The The, Electronica, Modest Mouse, The Cribs and his instantly recognisable riffs and tunings have made him an international superstar.

So It’s only right that he was the first person to play in Manchester’s incredible new live venue.

Jonny Marr and Orchestra at Factory International

Credit Pat Graham

Rocking us with a wonderful mix of his cracking solo tunes, Smiths classics and even some Electronica thrown into the mix for good measure – it’s not a bad place to start.

And can we get a shout-out for the venue?

The crisply minted Factory International dazzled with the beautiful mixing of Johnny’s chiming guitar and the ethereal melodies of the orchestra, it sounded awesome and is a sign of great things to come.

On a huge evening for Manchester, as Chanel’s catwalk dazzled the Northern Quarter, Factory International, just around the corner, was pulsating to a distinct and electrifying rhythm.

The city is really buzzing at the moment.

The evening commenced with”Armatopia,” setting the stage for an immersive musical journey that traversed Marr’s extensive catalogue.

Marr, accompanied by a symphony of strings, brass, and woodwinds, brought new life to Smith’s classics like “How Soon Is Now” and “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me.”

The Incredible Aviva Studios

Credit Pat Graham

The synergy between Marr and the orchestra elevated these iconic tracks to new heights, infusing them with a grandeur that resonated through the cavernous room of Aviva Studios.

“Hi Hello” and “Somewhere” showcased Marr’s dexterity in seamlessly blending his solo works with the cherished sounds of The Smiths.

The audience, a real mix of ages of Marr enthusiasts, found themselves caught in a euphoric dance, propelled by the infectious rhythms and the sheer energy emanating from the stage.

A testament to the man’s brilliance that there was probably three decades of fans in the house having a brilliant time to the man’s magic.

A word now for emotional manipulation – Johnny Marr broke things down to their bare bones with just him and a guitar for Smiths tear jerker ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want‘ – emotionally destroying everyone in the room with the sadness that pulsated through the crowd.

Marr’s emotive delivery, coupled with the sweeping orchestral arrangements, evoked a collective sigh from the audience, encapsulating the magic of the moment.

Then he took the breaks off with his solo classic ‘Easy Money‘ getting the crowd out of their melancholy and dancing, rightly so, to an absolute banger.

A real back to back rollercoaster 10 minutes of tunes and a brilliant turn.

The cutting-edge light show, a visual feast for the eyes, added a layer of spectacle that complemented Marr’s musical virtuosity.

As the night progressed, Marr seamlessly navigated through his diverse discography, treating the audience to the pulsating beats of “Easy Money” and the introspective tones of “Getting Away With It.”

Music that Transcends Generations

The crowd, a kaleidoscope of emotions, swayed to the rhythm, enraptured by Marr’s ability to seamlessly transition between genres and eras.

“Panic” ignited a frenzy of movement, as the infectious energy of the song surged through the Aviva Studios. Marr, bathed in the vibrant hues of the cutting-edge light show, stood at the epicentre of a musical storm, conducting a symphony of sound and emotion that resonated with every corner of the venue.

The climactic moment arrived with “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.”

Marr, accompanied by the orchestra, delivered a rendition that transcended nostalgia, becoming a poignant homage to the enduring legacy of The Smiths.

The audience, immersed in the collective experience, sang along with gusto, their voices blending seamlessly with Marr’s.

As the gig finished, a picture of Andy Rouke came up on the projection screen behind the stage, with Johnny bowing to it in a poignant reflection on Andy’s passing earlier this year.

RIP to a legend.

The Aviva Studios, with its impeccable acoustics really did elevate the entire experience. It sounded great.

It will be fascinating to follow the development of the space, and what they can do with such an incredibly versatile spot.

We’ve already seen Yayoi Kusama’s psychedelic wonderland, and Danny Boyle’s Free Your Mind.

Very much looking forward to seeing what’s next in store!

Did we miss something? Let us know: [email protected]

Want to be the first to receive all the latest news stories, what’s on and events from the heart of Manchester? Sign up here.


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

Got a story worth sharing?

What’s the story? We are all ears when it comes to positive news and inspiring stories. You can send story ideas to [email protected]

Close this search box.