Johnny Marr is one of the most recognisable guitarists the indie sphere has ever chucked up. A man whose tone could cut through an arena, whose presence can make middle aged Smiths fans weep, it’s curious to watch him step out on his own.
For now, though, he’s admiring Tom Odell. The London based songwriter has enjoyed a rapid rise, with the BRITs making him the first male winner of the Critics Choice Award. It’s easy to see why – the songwriting is sweet on the ear, with Odell’s voice well worth those Chris Martin comparisons. Working better in intimate surroundings such as these, Tom Odell banters in a carefree fashion with the crowd.
Sat behind his piano, it’s perhaps churlish to accuse the (still frighteningly young) artist of being static, but the set only really comes to life when the singer begins to lose control. Still uncovering his own identity, this is a patchy yet rewarding set – one which uncovers new strengths whilst re-enforcing previously held doubts.
Then it’s time for Johnny Marr. Clad in a three button blazer which whispers towards Mod in a smart, stylish manner the guitarist is a magnetic presence. Focussing on his new solo album, there’s an energy to his performance which suggests an artist who has no intentions of resting on his laurels.
Clearly enjoying being back out front, this is a raw set from the guitarist – who is at one point forced to apologise to his band for a false start. Ending with ‘How Soon Is Now?’ this is a short, compact set from Johnny Marr. Yet there’s enough here to suggest that his nascent cockiness, his inspiring self-belief is showing no signs of going away.