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