The gig took place at the Cheese and Grain venue in Frome last night (August 16) as part of Johnny Marr’s latest run of solo gigs, and featured a number of tracks from across his discography, including solo tracks and classics by The Smiths.
Fans at last night’s show, however, were left surprised after the singer-songwriter and guitarist brought out The Cult’s Billy Duffy as a surprise guest for the evening.
The on-stage appearance is the latest of the multiple times the two musicians have joined forces, as they both have a long history of playing music together – stemming back to their adolescent years.
Meeting in Manchester during their childhood, Duffy was in an early incarnation of The Smiths with Morrissey and had also played guitar with Marr when the latter was just 12 years old. It was also through the three of them attending a Patti Smith gig in 1978 that Marr was introduced to Morrissey – leading to the formation of The Smiths.
From then both Marr and Duffy have gone on to record and play live numerous times, including recording their own version of the Ennio Morricone spaghetti western theme tune ‘The Good, The Bad And The Ugly’, which was recorded in 1992.
At the surprise appearance in Frome last night, the two collaborated for a performance of one of The Smiths’ most famous tracks, ‘How Soon Is Now?’. Before this, however, Marr introduced The Cult guitarist to the stage with a joint cover of Depeche Mode’s 1993 hit, ‘I Feel You’.
After the set, Marr took to his Instagram to share an image of them both on stage, writing in the caption: “Thanks to my friend Billy Duffy for joining us tonight in Frome. It was rockin alright. Nice one Billy.”
Additionally, Duffy also expressed his happiness to be on stage with Marr again in a new statement (via press). “Always a pleasure to get up [on the] stage with my oldest pal and throw a few shapes, just like we dreamed in 1975,” he began.
“It was great to hang out and I hope to throw something a little different into the mix….plus I get to enjoy the rest of John’s show.”
Check out fan-captured footage of the show below.
— Rebecca 🎶🎙️🎸 (@grandcentral186) August 16, 2023
This is the second time that the former Smiths guitarist has been joined on stage for a performance of one of the band’s songs. Earlier this month, Gaz Coombes joined him to play classic track ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ at Lakefest 2023.
Up next, Marr is set to continue his run of live solo performances with a slot at The Student’s Union in Plymouth tonight (August 17). Tomorrow, he will also make an appearance at this year’s edition of the Beautiful Days festival, held at Escot Park.
As for Duffy, later this year, the singer-songwriter and guitarist is set to rejoin forces with Ian Astbury to tour the UK, Ireland and US as part of their band Death Cult.
The live shows were announced earlier this week (August 14), and the project is an early incarnation of The Cult. Kicking off in November with a gig in Belfast, the tour will see the two play the same small clubs that they played in when first beginning their careers.
It will also celebrate 40 years since they first formed, focus on their eponymous EPs, and “boast a setlist that spans the three phases of the band, from Southern Death Cult, to Death Cult, and The Cult’s first two albums: ‘Dreamtime’ (1984) and ‘Love’ (1985).”
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