As much as I love music from the Eighties, I am not completely oblivious to contemporary artists, and have even been known to dip my toe into the waters of Radio 1’s new-fangled releases! Having recently been introduced to the sounds of The Autumn Stones, by band member, Gary Butler, I have found the perfect fusion of both these worlds – fresh, new material, with unmistakable echoes of the Eighties.
Hailing from Toronto, the Canadian quartet comprises
(L-R) Matthew McLaughlin (drums), Gary Butler (horns/guitar), Ciaran Megahey (lead vocals/guitar), and Michael Newton (bass). Their singles include “In With The Out Crowd” – a Mod revival meets The Blow Monkeys vibe – and my favourite, “Endless War”. Imagine a melting pot of The Undertones, Big Country and The Smiths, topped off by Ciaran’s vocal, which is both unique yet familiar, and you’ll have some idea of what makes “Endless War” so special. Better still, why not visit the band’s website and have a listen yourself? As we wave goodbye to winter, and embrace the new, it’s the ideal time to spring into The Autumn Stones!
Last night saw me at a long-awaited Johnny Marr gig in Bexhill-on-Sea. The third gig in his recently launched Playland Tour, it was everything I had expected and more. From the moment Marr opened his set with the title track of the tour and his newly released album, we were treated to a stylish display of musicianship, in which he made his mastery of the guitar look effortless.
Alongside tracks from “Playland”, including his current single “Easy Money”, Marr performed tracks from his “The Messenger” album. My favourite was “Generate! Generate!”, which he played after verging on an “existential crisis” on stage! There was a cover of Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life”, and a few Smiths’ classics, including “Panic” and “Stop Me”. However, Johnny saved the best for last, with a hypnotic delivery of “How Soon Is Now?”. I know that some will consider it sacrilege, but Marr’s vocal last night was so much better than I had ever heard it performed by The Smiths. Sorry Morrissey!
In fact, there is nothing I can fault about last night’s gig. I was captivated from beginning to end. This video clip I took does not do the evening justice, as the quality is hardly top notch, but I hope it will give you an idea of the genius and class of the one and only Johnny F**kin’ Marr!