Gig Review and setlist: Johnny Marr - Stylus, Leeds University

Halfway through tonight's set Johnny Marr tells the crowd: "This is the first time I have been out in two years.

Johnny Marr - Leeds Stylus - September 20, 2021. Photo: Mark Casci

"And it feels absolutely great."

The first gig back from Johnny and for I would imagine most of the sold out crowd at Stylus doesn't disappoint, especially when he and his band drop Smiths classic (and Leeds referencing) Panic as the second song of the night.

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While he will always be known as one half of one Britain's greatest ever songwriting partnerships, Marr's career post-Smiths has been defined by experimentation, collaboration and innovation.

Johnny Marr - photo credit to Niall Lee.

Throughout the many bands he has played with, or the records he has produced on his own, Marr has never been an artist to look backwards and as such much of tonight's set is drawn from his recent illustrious solo career, with many of tonight's tracks receiving their live debut.

New single Spirit Power and Soul is all synths and electronic drum patters, driven by almost New Order-esque guitar lines. Easy Money provokes dancing along the Stylus balconies and Walk into the Sea provides six minutes of psychedelic bliss.

A rendition of Getting Away With It by one of his former incarnations Electronic proves one of the highlights of the night.

But naturally, it is the Smiths classics that Marr liberally peppers his set with that provoke the biggest reactions from the capacity audience.

A pulsating and spell-binding How Soon is Now is all consuming while There is a Light that Never Goes Out inspires a mass singalong that leads Marr and his band to sit back and allow the crowd to take centre stage.

For the last two songs the band lay down Some Girls Are Bigger than Others and Bigmouth Strikes Again, sending the Yorkshire crowd out into the hot late summer night with a spring in its step that only live music can bring.

"We are getting started again," says Marr. "And it always seems to be in Leeds."

Thank god for that Johnny. We missed you.

Setlist:

Hideaway Girl

Panic

Spirit Power and Soul

Tenet Time

New Town Velocity

Rubicon

Night and Day

Get the Message

Getting Away With It

The Headmaster Ritual

Sensory Street

This Charming Man

Walk Into the Sea

Hi Hello

Play Video

How Soon Is Now?

Armatopia

There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

Easy Money

Encore:

Counter Clock

Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others

Bigmouth Strikes Again