The Smiths Indeed at the Button Factory – Review
Not many people can boast seeing the Smiths in a crowded room in the mid eighties, right at their prime, with one of a kind guitarist Johnny Marr weaving beautiful jangly melodies over Morrissey’s unique, raw poetic performances. The short lived band were the icons of a generation, and acted as a catalyst to the cock rock scene that had dominated guitar music through the guts of the decade. Unfortunately, we cannot say we have been able to witness such a thing either, but we do have the next best thing: The Smiths Indeed, who are celebrating thirty years of the seminal Meat is Murder in the Button Factory.
The band come on stage to the dramatic ‘Dance Of The Knights’, just as the Smiths and Morrissey have done over the years. The band make it clear from the outset that they aren’t messing around here. Dressed head to toe in raggedy shirts, cord pants and very high quiffs, ‘Morrissey’ throws us right into fan favourite, Still Ill. Where they go down in originality, they make up for enormously in stage presence. The band is tight, very tight. Hit after hit come, much to the audience’s delight. ‘What Difference Does it Make?’, ‘Nowhere Fast and This Charming Man’ are delivered with gusto, and shameless Morrissey dancing and crooning are lapped up by all.
As the night goes on, the crowd loosen up more and more, and slowly but surely begin throwing themselves at the stage. It’s as if they have forgotten that they aren’t actually grasping at Morrissey’s legs and screaming at him in adoration. This is surely a testament to the band. They are convincing and professional in their deliveries of all the classics, and they establish an irresistibly fun atmosphere. ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ gets an exceptionally electric response from the crowd, with the singer almost being drowned out by adoring spectators singing along. Never before have so many people of all ages been so united in over the top dancing until now. As the gig draws to a close, one brave man’s efforts to join his favourite band (sort of) on stage inspires the whole front row to clamber up as well. ‘Ask’ is played with passion, all while about thirty people hop around the stage, dragging out of Morrissey’s shirt and throwing flowers everywhere. It is truly a brilliant vibe to be part of once you just accept you’ve come to a Smiths tribute band.
After everyone is ushered back down by the security, the band come back to finish off the set once and for all with a sweaty and gutsy performance of ‘Handsome Devil’. Then they are gone, off somewhere else to spread the good word of the Smiths. Having seen the real Morrissey in support of his lukewarm last album, World Peace is None of Your Business in the 3Arena last December, it was interesting to compare the two. Without getting too carried away, one delivered a charming performance of hits and engaged with the crowd terrifically, and the other was a bit….Hit and miss. In any case, The Smiths Indeed easily achieved their goal of making us feel we were back in the golden age of guitar pop music, which is surely appreciated these days.
By Finn O’Reilly