Johnny Marr's The Messenger Tour Finale at Fort Lauderdale's Culture Room
Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Better than: Whatever you'll be doing on that night when Morrissey cancels his show because he has a tummy ache.
It is a rare air indeed that has filled the lungs of Mr. Johnny Marr over the course of an unbelievably charmed life in music.
Beyond his work as the Richards to Morrissey's Jagger, Marr has been involved with a staggering number of remarkably good records, played the role of guitar anti-hero for generations, and done it all while exuding the kind of inherent coolness that simply can't be learned, nor explained. He also recently became a fully realized solo artist with The Messenger , an LP that displays his many talents as a songwriter, guitarist, and surprisingly strong singer.
Last night, Marr ended the tour supporting The Messenger at Fort Lauderdale's Culture Room.
The night began with a packed room enjoying the delicate vocals and jangling Jazzmaster of the lovely Meredith Sheldon, a singer-songwriter with a flair for the bedroom rock of the '90s. Sheldon's gossamer voice was as captivating as her good looks, and though the early comers to any show in South Florida are a seemingly unruly bunch, plenty paid close attention to this young woman, from whom we expect to hear much more in the future.
As the room flooded to capacity with fans, Marr was welcomed to the stage with a fluttering blast of strobe light and a clang of his signature model Fender Jaguar. Clad in the smartest of blue velour blazers, the guitarist smiled brightly as he and his band kicked into The Messenger's opening track, "The Right Thing Right," immersing the audience in a wash of perfectly rendered Brit-rock that could really only come from the likes of Johnny Marr.
The songs performed from The Messenger came to life on the stage and displayed a reverence for the understatement of the mods performed with the edge of the rockers, all realized with the sort of quiet confidence possessed only by legends of Marr's stature. "Generate! Generate!" was a particularly fun part of the set, and certainly reinforced our love of the album.
However, Marr wasted little time before pulling out Smiths classic "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before," and the crowd -- already buzzing from the guitarist's exuberant entrance -- sang along with a fanatical zeal.
He kept the stage banter brief, but was jovial and charming throughout the night, greeting the crowd with a hearty "'Ello, 'ello, 'ello" before cutting into "Upstarts." And later, after asking if anyone had heard the new album, he thanked the audience before calling them "a bunch of lying bastards" with a cheeky smile.