Johnny Marr returns to scene of first ever Smiths gig with The Cribs

'At least we had an audience this time' says star after Manchester homecoming

Johnny Marr returned to the scene of The Smiths‘ first ever gig last night (February 5) with new band The Cribs.

Now firmly a member of the Jarmans‘ band, the quartet played a sold-out show at the The Ritz in Manchester as they continued their short UK tour.

Speaking about his return to the venue where The Smiths played in 1982, Marr told NME.COM the gig with The Cribs differed because he had a full audience this time around.

“When we did the first Smiths gig here my main memories of it were terror and vast emptiness as there was only about 11 people here,” explained the guitarist.

“I remember that I was so nervous and as I walked up the stage I banged the end of my guitar, I heard this clang and it went completely out of tune. I thought to myself ‘This is either a really bad omen for the rest of my potential career or maybe I’ve got rid of some of the bad luck right now’. It was a really inauspicious start to my career.”

This time The Cribs played a blend of older songs and five new songs co-written with Marr, including the fierce opener ‘We Were Aborted’, ‘Victims Of Mass Production’, ‘We Share The Same Skies’, ‘Hari Kari’ and ‘Cheat On Me’.

The set also featured rousing renditions of ‘I’m A Realist’, ‘Hey Scenesters!’ and ‘Men’s Needs’.

Closing with 2005’s ‘Wrong Way To Be’, the cries of “Manchester la la la” from the crowd punctuated the set, as did chants for Johnny Marr.

The Cribs played:

‘We Were Aborted’

‘I’m A Realist’

‘Hey Scenesters!’

‘Our Bovine Public’

‘We Share The Same Skies’

‘Don’t You Want To Be Relevant?’

‘Victims Of Mass Production’

‘Girls Like Mystery’

‘I’ve Tried Everything’

‘Cheat On Me’

‘Women’s Needs’

‘Hari Kari’

‘Moving Pictures’

‘Another Number’

‘Mirror Kissers’

‘Men’s Needs’

‘Be Safe’

‘Wrong Way To Be’

Speaking after the show, bassist Gary Jarman explained why the band had decided to play a mini-tour.

“These shows aren’t necessarily to showcase the new songs but when we made the last couple of records we did it without playing the songs live. We’ve found that when you tour and play songs they get a bit more aggressive, it’s the only way to get the spirit out of them,” he said. “You always regret not having gigged new songs before recording them, so we made sure we’d do a few shows to make sure we get that this time.”

He added that the show had been recorded. and could be released as a live album in the future.

“We’re talking about bootlegging it,” he explained. “We’re going to compile the recordings from both nights here and put it out, we all love the idea of bootlegging it too. When I was a kid one of the most exciting things was when you’d go on a dodgy market were they’d have a live album of your favourite band you never knew existed. We’ll probably sell it out the back of the van or something.

“It’s exciting because you know that it’s going to become part of your back catalogue and part of your history. It adds more of a sense of occasion to it and considering that this is the place where The Smiths first ever played, it’s special.”

Fan videos of the show have appeared on YouTube, which you can watch below.