22/1/08 - Morrissey @ Roundhouse, Camden, London


Jan 23 2008, 12h55

Tue 22 Jan – Morrissey

It's a little worrying and a little sad this was the second gig I've been to in nearly two years now, but no matter. It was great to find after a long train journey that the Roundhouse was a stone throw away from the Chalk Farm underground station, and a Sainsbury's Local was located just across the road to provide me and my fellow Moz-goer (Hennerz) with overpriced meals. Even lovelier, we got into the place with no hassle a good two hours before it kicked off - no winding queues, no standing out in the cold, just tall beers in the relative warmth of the bar, where we marveled at the volume of people with Morrissey's hair, Morrissey's clothes, Morrissey's mannerisms... it was just like the Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before video. Despite the many copycats, there weren't many die hard fans queuing outside the performance area ridiculously early, so we were able to tag onto it and end up in the third or fourth row once the doors opened.

We got talking to a delightful bearded fellow from Gloucestershire, before the support came on with little fanfare, aptly named for the gig - Girl in a Coma. An all girl band, they were largely unspectacular, playing run-of-the-mill rock music, their guitarist/vocalist reinforcing this as she looked as though she was a character freshly plucked from Guitar Hero. By no means awful to endure for half an hour, but probably not the sort of support you're going to follow up after the show.

Immediately after they stopped playing, a series of short films were projected onto the large white screen which was covering a large area of the stage behind it - a clip of The New York Dolls playing live, some strange excerpts from a James Dean film... all things typical of Morrissey's own tastes. It passed the time well, as sooner than I thought the screen was lifted up, the stage revealed, shiny instruments strewn around, the same giant iconoclastic portrait displayed three times over at the very back of the stage.

The band and the man emerged, no need to be prompted by the football chanting that had commenced. Morrissey's wearing a black shirt typical of his style combined with blue working trousers, although a more flattering version thereof. He greets us all, saying something about being back in the clutches of Camden Town, and we're off - a fantastic opening of The Last of the Famous International Playboys followed by How Soon Is Now?, which sends the crowd into fervour. In fact, he ranged incredibly well over his back catalogue, swaggering about and swinging his mic cable to and fro throughout the likes of Stretch Out and Wait, Tomorrow and the brilliant rockabilly track that is The Loop. He was in a bantering mood, handing the mic to a girl with a thick accent at one point, who made some sappy remark about Interesting Drug and how Morrissey was her interesting drug. "Americans," he sighed, his eyes rolling to the rest of the crowd.

Definitely maintaining the immaculateness of the night were the band, Boz Boorer et al, who never put a foot wrong and could carry a whole show by themselves if they wanted to. A double bass was used at times to great effect, as well as one heck of a colossal drum. Occasionally, the band and Morrissey would be in wonderful unconscious unison, the latter's gaze always down or forwards, never at the band. His flamboyance and cheekiness emanated throughout, collapsing melodramatically and gyrating, clutching his chest as if stabbed by a knife when a bottle hits him there. For the encore, he came out in a T shirt depicting himself and Barack Obama, who he'd praised earlier, simultaneously mocking Hilary Clinton ("Billery," as I recall). Irish Blood, English Heart and The First Of The Gang To Die (I think - fuzzy memory, I'm sure someone has a set list) rounded off the night, and I felt dearly sorry for whoever was at the bottom of the heap of people who all dived for the shirt as Morrissey threw it into the crowd before his exit.

All in all, a highly enjoyable night in Camden Town was had. The Roundhouse is an excellent venue, in spite of only having a choice of either Kronenberg or John Smith's at the bar, the fellow Moz-lovers were all quite nice and thoroughly enjoying themselves, even if they did crush my lungs and ribcage in their attempts to get outstretched hands to Morrissey's. The man himself and his band seemed to be in top form, in spite of an unrelenting touring schedule these past couple of years. I will see him again if the opportunity and chance to arises. In Far Off Places, of course.

Ooh, a little finishing note if you're going to see him on this tour - the merch is very nice. I bought a purple shirt, emblem on the front and dates on the back, and it is very snug indeed.


  • Sum0

    you always buy the nicest t-shirts

    Jan 23 2008, 23h15
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