Modern Manchester indie-rock heroes Blossoms have teamed up with fellow Northerner Rick Astley for a two-night stand of performances where the somewhat unlikely pair will be covering the songs of fellow Mancunians The Smiths.
You read that right: Blossoms and Rick Astley playing Smiths songs live. It’s not as bizarre as it might sound, Astley’s booming baritone actually has quite a bit in common with Morrissey’s signature bray, and if one band is carrying on the jangly-alternative sound of their hometown heroes of Marr, Rourke, and Joyce, it’s Blossoms.
The two parties gave an unexpected preview of the concerts last night when Astley joined Blossoms at their London gig to perform ‘This Charming Man’ and ‘Panic’. Astley took it a step further by donning era-appropriate Morrissey wears as well, including a floral shirt and large-rimmed glasses that recalled the frontman’s iconic look during the height of The Smith’s fame.
“From the moment The Smiths emerged in 1983 I was hooked,” Astley explains in a press release, “And it’s as a fan, with deep respect as a musician for Morrissey, Marr, Rourke and Joyce, that I’ll be joining the endlessly enthusiastic and talented Blossoms on stage to sing their songs. It’s no secret that it’s been an ambition of mine to turn an idea that first sounded crazy, making more sense as Blossoms and I talked about it and then rehearsed it, into a reality. These shows will be nights that I’ll never forget.”
“The Smiths have always meant so much to Blossoms, with even their rainiest songs complete with wry humour and soul-reaching musicianship and melody,” Blossoms frontman Tom Odgen adds. “Their poppier moments are pure, joyful, danceable poetry. Imagine backing Rick Astley to play the songs of The Smiths? We’ve had wilder dreams, but not many. We’ll barely be able to believe it until it happens, but the dates are set, we’re studying every note, line and beat to say ‘thank you’ to The Smiths alongside Rick and do both of them proud.”
The pair will put on shows in both Manchester and London. Astley had previously joked to Rolling Stone back in 2016 that he would probably “get lynched” if he tried to perform an entire set of Smiths songs in Manchester. Well, it looks like we’re going to find out.
Tickets for the two shows go on sale at 9.30 am on Friday 17 September.
Rick Astley and Blossoms Play The Smiths concert dates:
- Fri 8 October 2021 – Albert Hall, Manchester
- Sat 9 October 2021 – O2 Forum Kentish Town, London