Monday, March 23, 2009

Extra London gig in a well-chosen smaller venue

The extra London gig, at the Roundhouse on Sunday 26 April, is very welcome – the Roundhouse is London’s best smaller rock venue, and could be a welcome antidote to what some fear might be a lost opportunity at the gigantic London O2 Arena the night before.

My introduction to the Roundhouse was a splendid Morrissey show a year ago – see below.

To apply for Dylan Roundhouse tickets - on Wednesday morning - you have to get a password from:

Good luck! We’ll all need it!

Gerry Smith

Morrissey in London – pop for grown-ups

Last night’s Morrissey gig at London’s Roundhouse – his third in a six night residency – was pure pop for grown-ups.

The setlist was a mixture of recent and new solo material, with Irish Blood/English Heart, First Of The Gang To Die and Last Of The Famous International Playboys the standouts. The forthcoming single, That’s How People Grow Up, will justify careful scrutiny.

Mozza’s unique talent is pungent, wittily original lyrics, allied to an unmissable on-stage charisma: very few performers give good gig better than he. His rapport with the faithful is wondrous to behold.

Last night’s music was nothing to get excited about, though. Trenchant lyrics apart, Morrissey’s solo work sounds pedestrian to my ears: too little variety in melody, tempo or dynamics. No variation. No improv.

So his musos are in a straitjacket to start with. But this crew sounded dull anyway. And the sound, from stage left, 20 metres from the front, was muddy, too bassy, and Il Mozzo was too low in the mix.

Morrissey was my first gig at the refurb’d Roundhouse. Very impressive – it easily reclaims its traditional status as London’s premier rockpop venue. Big enough for a 2,000 stand-up audience; small enough for intimate communion.

Pity about the audience, though. They’ve had to stop smoking (Hallelujah!), but most still yak incessantly, sing along as if they’re in the bath, and shuffle backwards and forwards to the bars all night long, spilling expensive beer from plastic mugs over innocent bystanders.

All music venues, from the Royal Opera House to Ronnie Scott’s, attract more than their fair share of stiffs. But rockpop gigs are notoriously bad: fully 50% of last night’s Roundhouse crowd were boneheads.

Gerry Smith