The Smiths were one of the most revered bands of the 80’s, and fans still listen regularly to this day. Goldenplec were in the Village to witness Dublin act, These Charming Men, pay tribute to one of the most important bands to transpire from these isles.
While the lack of punk haircuts signified that we are most certainly not in the 80’s; the crowds’ age certainly represented the decade well. A shrill whistle of guitar feedback rings around the room like a colony of displeased hornets. People wince, where’s the music? Then Bam! Like the greatest jungle repellent, The Queen Is Dead clears the air and there is an instantaneous joy among those in the audience; something quite unique to the music of The Smiths.
Gavin Murphy on guitar suffers an unfortunate technical issue but quickly recovers and Panic follows. There is a sense of poignancy for this writer after the recent Boston bombings. Lead singer Lee Brady swings the hangman’s noose oh so Morrissey-esque, while the faithful in attendance demand the hanging of the DJ as if stood before the ancient governor Pilate. The opening songs has the mood set to just above a bearable level of adoration. Singer Brady thanks the crowd and puts to them: “thank you for not smoking, it’s 1984.”
The obvious critiques with a tribute act, are how well they perform the songs, and if they mimic the image in a believable and flattering way. And while Brady is the only real impersonator, the music and its accuracy is also solid. Having formed in 1995, the foursome have annually played the Smiths/Morrissey convention in Los Angeles since 2001. They once filled in for the man himself, at the Fuji Rock festival in Japan in front of over thirty-five thousand spectators. Not bad for a cover act you may rightly think.
Deeper into the set, and it has become something of a greatest hits collection sing-along. It makes you think; these people live there lives through the music on-show, displaying great emotion and feelings of nostalgia. It highlights the the affection we are capable of holding towards music. Ask and The Smiths very first single, Hand In Glove, both receive a warm response which is followed by a less polished middle section comprising of a number of Morrissey solo releases.
The band round it up with a masterclass of hits, including the ever relevant How Soon Is Now and This Charming Man. For fans of the original Manchester group, it was no doubt a satisfactory performance and surely encouraged fond memories of a time when The Smiths ruled the world.