Cardiff Barfly
3 April 2009

I have said in a previous review that tribute bands strike me as an odd concept. Competent singers and musicians spending their entire lives pretending to be someone else. Don't they wish to be recognised for their own talents or are they just content to be the musical equivalent of Rory Bremner?

So I was not expecting too much when a spring Friday night found me returning to the subterranean bowels of the Cardiff Barfly to see four Liverpudlian lads attempting to simulate an evening spent with The Smiths. And as many things in life turn out to be, the greatest pleasures are those totally unexpected, as contrary to my initial misgivings they turned out to be excellent.

I think it goes without saying that most of the sizeable crowd in attendance either liked, or loved, Morrissey and Co, and so to a certain degree it could be viewed as a karaoke night of like minded people. However that would diminish the real effort put in by the band to ensure that the look, and more importantly the sound, did justice to an era defining band. Whilst inevitably most eyes and ears are concentrated on fake Mozza, I was equally pleased that the lead guitarist could reproduce the quintessential Smiths sound created by Johnny Marr. Their attention to details is such that the lead singer took to the stage with requisite quiff and NHS glasses, whilst sporting his mothers’ blouse and having the obligatory flowers hanging from his arse pocket.

The boys have been doing this since 2005 and it shows in the professional way they belt out classics such as “Sheila take a Bow”, “Girlfriend in a Coma”, “Ask”, “Panic”, “Stop me if you’ve heard this one before” etc, etc, for the best part of two hours. To give a total set list seem superfluous as picking up any of the plethora of Smith greatest hits CD would pretty much indicate what they cover.

There were a few numbers that I didn’t know, but I guess these were thrown in for the uber fanatical fans. However within moments another Smith’s standard would be given an airing, and so we were treated to “Heavens knows I’m miserable now”, “What difference does it make”, “Cemetery Gates”, “Hand in Glove” “William it was really nothing” and to finish off “This Charming Man”. A quick change of costume by Morrissey (a rather fetching red cardigan) and they returned to sign off with “There is a light that never goes out”. All in all an enjoyable evening that I would be quite happy to relive the next time The Smiths Indeed cross the Severn Bridge.

Oh, and just where do they get the name from? Apparently is was etched in the run-out grooves on the 1984 Smiths single Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”. So now you know….