Last night I met a man in a bar who really likes Morrissey. There are bands that I really like – for example: by a combination of accident and desire, I’ve seen loveable scamps Art Brut a moderately unhealthy seven or eight times.
Which, it turns out, is nothing. This man has managed to take the concept of ‘to like’, folded it like the most intricate origami you’ve ever seen, and then carefully unfurled a razor-edged, pristine paper statuette that reads “MY OVERWHELMING OBSESSION“.
There was nothing sinister about his infatuation with Manchester’s favourite miserablist, just plain old hero worship; albeit hero worship to the power of ten. He’d seen his hero in concert ‘about’ (I think he knew the exact figure, but wasn’t letting on) 75 times. That – that – is a real fan, ladies and gentlemen.
He knew how often he’d shaken Morrissey’s hand, and I realised that each occasion was a unique moment in his life. I bet Morrissey gets just as much from this transaction. It’s why he became a rock star in the first place, though maybe he won’t admit it.
The Bowery Riots, being younger, on the other side of the fence and less concerned with public image might readily agree that rock ‘n’ roll adoration is an alluring prospect. And if they keep providing us with straight-up rock excellence like The Rent, legions of frothing fans are only a power chord away.
I can’t recall the last time I heard a rock song so in tune with ‘old-fashioned’ rock, and yet firmly entrenched in today‘s music. The Rent is a coruscating and blistering clutter of brazenly crunchy guitars, squalling brass and hollow drums. Insidious and bright, it’s sticky and gooey like hazelnut spread, but a hundred times more satisfying.
The Bowery Riots don’t sound like a New York band, or a four-square rock band, and their songs are pruned to appear one way and sound like another. Their call-and-response choruses are magnetic. One day, I’ll shake their hands.