I have been an obsessed listener of Manchester music since I was a braces-wearing, spot-covered 13-year old, so when I found out that two of the city’s greatest bands were being celebrated at the Live Rooms, it was an opportunity you could not pay me to miss. These Smiths have been heralded as the country’s number one Smiths tribute act.
With my “The Queen is Dead” t-shirt and my friend sporting his iconic Joy Division shirt, we were ready to spend the evening in 1985, despite being the youngest people in the building by a few decades. Upon arriving we realised that we were not the only ones in uniform, the entire venue donned vintage Smiths and New Order merchandise. I will admit that most of those in attendance had probably seen both bands in their heyday (lucky them), but for us it was a chance to experience an era and a sound that we were not fortunate enough to have lived through.
True Order went on first, dressed like members of the band probably dress today and immediately whipped the crowd into a sing-a-long frenzy, with a pitch perfect rendition of ‘True Faith’. The opening three songs (True Faith, Age of Consent and Ceremony) were even enough to dismiss my anger from the over priced drinks. As the set went on, the four-piece mesmerised the crowd with hit after hit, ‘Temptation’ was the last song of the set, or so we thought. After the audience had started to collectively walk towards the smoking area, we were all thrown back into the music with an encore of Joy Divison’s quintessential classic ‘Love Will Tear us Apart’. After what seemed like hours of applause from the middle-aged faithful in attendance, True Order finished their set on a high note.
After a 10-minute break, just enough time to waste £4.50 on another flat pint, these Smiths made their way to the stage. The main event of the evening was set to start. The first track, ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ was a strong start and after a fast-paced rendition of ‘William’, the set briefly moved into Morrissey’s solo work. This sat well with the audience but did not get the same response, as some of the more well known Smiths tracks.
Just when it seemed like the band was beginning to lose the audience, who were growing drunker by the minute, their affection was restored by the iconic ‘This Charming Man’. ‘How Soon is Now’ followed, as the crowd and band slowly became one. After an hour of nostalgia, and the lead singer hurling a bunch of flowers into one of the lights, these Smiths called it a night. The encored performance of ‘There is a Light that Never Goes out’, led to an emotional farewell from the band and once again attention turned to the bar, and those overpriced pints.
By Sam Revivo