Sunday 17 December 2017

Moz woz here! But what was the real reason?

Morrissey
Morrissey

It seems you only had to leave your front door last week and you had a good chance of running into Morrissey. Spotted around Dublin at various gigs (Squarehead and, surprisingly for some, Mary Coughlan) and in the crowd at the Choice Music Prize ceremony in Vicar Street, could the indie icon have been scouting for a support act for a possible forthcoming tour?

It was announced last weekend that he is to play the Hop Farm festival in Paddock Wood, Kent, England, on July 2 alongside fellow legends Lou Reed, Iggy & The Stooges and one Mary Coughlan, who told the Irish Independent's Diary last week that they will both be playing more festival dates in the UK.

If he later plays some of his own headline shows, then he's going to want a support act he's happy with -- and he has a history of favouring Irish artists: Dublin indie guitar acolytes Sack have toured with him in the past, as have Dubliners The Thrills and Pony Club, who opened for him at London's Royal Albert Hall in the last decade.

Local folk hero Damien Dempsey, meanwhile, was chosen as special guest on Morrissey's American tour a few years ago.

And if you want to go right back, Galway quirk-pop masters The Would-Be's opened for him when he played his first ever solo gig at The National Stadium in 1991.

He played the same venue with The Smiths just before the release of The Queen Is Dead in 1986 -- a gig I attended on crutches with my right leg in plaster. Suffice to say I forgot all about my gammy knee for a glorious 90 minutes.

Indeed, this June marks the 25th anniversary of that masterpiece, which is widely regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time.

In celebration, Mojo ran a lengthy retrospective on it in their latest issue. And US indie label American Laundromat Records is releasing a tribute album later this year called Please, Please, Please: A Tribute to the Smiths, featuring the likes of The Wedding Present, Tanya Donelly (The Breeders, Throwing Muses) and Doug Martsch (Built To Spill) putting their spin on the Morrissey-and-Marr songbook.

Also, ex-Stone Roses and current Primal Scream bassist Mani is curating a night in honour of his fellow Mancunian at the Band On The Wall venue in Manchester on May 12.

As part of the JD Set series of gigs sponsored by Jack Daniels, Mani will perform classic Smiths songs alongside The Enemy's Tom Clarke, Little Barrie and others.

And cashing in on their portion of Moz's back catalogue, EMI next month release another greatest hits album of his solo material, The Very Best of Morrissey, whose cover features Moz naked in the bath, as shot by his friend Linder Sterling. A single 'Glamorous Glue' from the 1992 album Your Arsenal is also due.

But what of the Richards to his Jagger, the Buck to his Stipe -- Johnny Marr? Last spotted chatting to Russell Brand on the red carpet at the Oscars, Marr apparently worked on the score to the soundtrack of Inception alongside composer Hans Zimmer. He also plans to release two solo albums of his own material within the next 18 months.

As for Morrissey, time will tell if blues veteran Mary or any of the Choice nominees are chosen as his special guests on any future tour, but either way it's good to see Moz back on the road.

Writing on his website, Morrissey chose his Dublin gig at the National Stadium in 2009 as his favourite gig of that European tour, so he evidently likes the warm response he gets from Irish audiences.

Would it be too much to ask for a few shows at Dublin's Vicar Street?

nkelly@independent.ie

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