Johnny Marr @ The Forum (with Flyying Colours) – 22 Jul ’15

Perhaps a little bit of an addiction to a favourite venue, and in part a little déjà vu as well but there was another night to be had at The Forum. Splendour could be blamed yet again for this ongoing series of social encounters, but this was also in part due to a postponement of a show from January so it was also a much anticipated re-scheduling to see Johnny Marr after a stellar show back in 2014.

But first up was Flyying Colours – no, not a typo and a very important double-y to avoid any confusion with search results for a supergroup or post prog outfit. Initially it was a little underwhelming, a band jamming to a pretty run of the mill kind of tune. But things steadily improved and got interesting with a heavier rhythm section adding a bit of character to the band’s sound in Like You Said. Using a dual male-female vocal on a couple of tunes seemed to add a little more definition to what Flyying Colours does, so hopefully tunes like Running Late are a permanent fixture.

But in case anyone wasn’t quite sure who was on stage that night, having a name flashing on the backdrop during Johnny Marr’s opening number, Playland, was a sure fire way to alleviate any doubt.

Johnny Marr @ The Forum

Johnny Marr @ The Forum

Not that there was much time to adjust to anything here – there wasn’t really any such thing as a warm up or easing into proceedings here, just punchy rock providing a soundtrack for lots of guitar posturing around the centre of the stage. In theory, it sounds pretty obnoxious but it’s not – just a guy on stage giving a crowd what they want to see and hear.

A quick flashback to the days of The Smiths via Panic, and then it was all about Marr for a while where guitars dominated just as expected. Not one to mince words, Easy Money came with the very blunt intro of ‘a new song, it goes exactly like this’, but banter and discussion were kept to a minimum, cramming in as many tunes as possible.

New Town Velocity dished out a little classic rock charm, but there really wasn’t any time for slow tunes either when a barrage of riffs and hooks were at the ready, not to mention a little humour and friendly city rivalry chat before Spiral Cities and an ode to overthinking in Generate! Generate!

But another roar of cheers for yet another inclusion from the days of The Smiths, this time Bigmouth Strikes Again Despite deflecting attention with a little Manchester disco inspired number in Getting Away with It courtesy of the Electronic days, the inevitable was bound to happen – There is a Light That Never Goes Out. It’s a mandatory singalong (and a mighty fine group effort from those present), but frankly a bit of a bleak end to a night. Thankfully an encore remedied that one with a few more tunes, wrapping up with a cool classic in How Soon is Now?

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