Review & Photos: Johnny Marr & The Charlatans, Scarborough OAT, June 29, 2024

SATURDAY evening's Scarborough Open Air Theatre show offered a great line up of Gaz Coombes of Supergrass, The Charlatans and the legendary Johnny Marr performing. As value for money goes it really can't get much better.

Coombes was on stage at 6.30pm providing a short but fine set which included the Supergrass songs Caught by The Fuzz and Moving, and some solo tracks including Deep Pockets and Detroit.

At the previous night's show Johnny Marr came on second with The Charlatans topping the bill. In Scarborough they reversed position with Tim Burgess and The Charlatans coming on stage at 7.30pm and providing a 75-minute set that encompassed their career with many highlights along the way.

Gaz Coombes at Scarborough OAT, June 29, 2024. Photo by Dave LawrenceGaz Coombes at Scarborough OAT, June 29, 2024. Photo by Dave Lawrence

Opening with Then and Can't Get Out of Bed they got their set off to a great start. Two songs, Crashin' In and Opportunity got rare outings having not been played for close to ten years until being dusted off this week. They were real crowd pleasers for sure.

Burgess is one of those singers that looks like every show is a career high spot, with wide grin never far from his face. North Country Boy was wonderful to hear, but the place erupted when Johnny Marr came out to join the band on Weirdo, trading riffs with The Charlatans Mark Collins. After Burgess released Marr from his embrace the band closed their set with The Only One I know and an epic performance of Sproston Green.

After a quick changeover by the crew it was Johnny Marr's turn for the spotlight. Marr formerly of The Smiths is one of the most influential guitarists around with his own unique sound and style and alongside Morrissey, Mike Joyce and the late Andy Rourke made The Smiths one of our most revered bands.

Opening with his 2019 single Armatopia, he followed it up with a delicious run through The Smith's classic Panic and with a nice lyric change thrown in too, "But there's panic on the streets of Carlisle, Dublin, Dundee, Scar-bor-ough..."

A couple more solo numbers followed in the shape of Generate Generate from his 2013 debut album The Messenger and the more recent Spirit Power and Soul.

Tim Burgess with Johnny Marr at Scarborough OAT. Photo by Dave LawrenceTim Burgess with Johnny Marr at Scarborough OAT. Photo by Dave Lawrence

This Charming Man had everyone singing along before Marr swapped to acoustic guitar for Somewhere and a lovely version of The Smith's Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want, accompanied by James Doviak on piano.

For How Soon Is Now, Marr was joined by The Charlatans' Mark Collins on guitar, and after the catchy Easy Money, it was time for the Electronic song Getting Away With It where Marr and Burgess teamed up again to “recreate the Hacienda”.

Amazingly, in an evening filled with high spots there was still more to come. First, Marr closed his set with There Is a Light That Never Goes Out before returning to encore with a cover of Iggy Pop's The Passenger and returning to The Smiths catalogue, a glorious Big Mouth Strikes Again that had the crowd bouncing along before reluctantly heading to the exits.