Rick Astley and Blossoms review – the ultimate Smiths karaoke shouldn’t work, but it does | Music

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T80s hitmaker Stock’s idea of ​​Aitken and Waterman “performing Smiths songs” with Stockport’s Blossoms may sound like a drunken pub joke, but it’s a ridiculously hot ticket. Two thousand people scream at the ultimate Smiths karaoke. The roars rise when Astley Rickrolls in the high notes in How Much Difference Does It Make? and again when Blossoms’ Tom Ogden nails the harmonica in Hand In Glove.

It shouldn’t work, but it works because the songs are glorious and presented with care and detail. Our hosts walk through the old Wesleyan Chapel – a very Smithsy – themed Coronation Street venue and will come out later hugging gladioli. “Marry me” is smeared on the drum kit as it was on Morrissey’s chest on Top of the Pops in 1984.

With a duvet, glasses, wonderfully ridiculous plaid pants, flippy microphones and in-ear hearing aid-like monitors, Astley, 55, is an eerily good young Morrissey. Clearly, he’s free from the incarnation of the last days support of the far-right For Britain party, though Mozzer has never been so vulgar. “Do you think I’m taking that blazer off?” No fucking luck. I’m on stage with the thinnest band in England!

But above all, the Lancashire boy sings the songs beautifully and sincerely. Too bad Well I Wonder, one of the few to escape the roar, is partly drowned out by the chatter. Still, bassist Charlie Salt brings the funk to Barbarism Begins at Home. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, Panic and the rest turn into stupidly euphoric songs and Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want, lit by cellphones, is magical. Longtime Smiths fan Astley thanks “these young men, no… these geniuses! behind him for putting the work. When they rehearse with How Soon Is Now, This Charming Man and There Is a Light That Never Goes Out, there is concern that the decibels of the crowd will literally raise the roof. Watching this show in 2021 involves some suspension of disbelief, but it’s hard to imagine a happier evening.


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