Johnny Marr & The Healers made their second appearance on stage at the Black Cat on Friday, May 16, 2003, in Washington, D.C. Lead guitarist Johnny Marr was supported by Alonza Bevan on bass and backing vocals, James Doviak on rhythm guitar and keyboards, and Zak Starkey on drums.
Boomslang is Marr's prolific debut disc. The Healers performed nine of the eleven songs off the album, including a bonus CD single track "Here It Comes". Marr began with "Lone Gone", a strong opening number with a cool melody.
Marr inquired about correcting the soft stage lighting and commented, "We're a good looking bunch". Marr sang and played electric guitar as a prologue solo intro for "Down On The Corner". Doviak switched instruments to play a keyboard solo while Bevan laid down a melodic bass line.
Performed in a mellow manner, Marr sang a cover of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" and played an extended electric guitar intro. Bevan's subtle keyboard playing and Starkey's simple percussion complimented the tempo, creating a carnival-swirl effect.
"The Last Ride", which opens Boomslang, was a tour de force live. The intense rocker featured The Healer's stunning rhythm section. Bevan's bass lines and Starkey's drumbeat generated a driving sound with Marr hiding behind his guitar neck as he tore into his solo. The Healers morphed into a groove-jam during the performance with a core group of fans dancing front and center before the band.
The Healers skipped the traditional evening exit prior to returning to the stage to play an encore. "Bangin' On" was the final number performed by The Healers, which showcased Marr's bottleneck guitar leads. The driven dual guitar riffs empowered the rocker, climaxing with a coda crescendo. Bevan's brief swooping bass line was an unexpected surprise.
Marr made his name in music as a founding member of The Smiths, formed in 1982. A multi-talented guitarist, composer, and singer, Boomslang is Marr's outstanding premiere effort supported by Bevan and Starkey as The Healers, released in February 2003.
D.C. setlist: Long Gone * Caught Up * Here it Comes * Down On The Corner * All Out Attack * You Are The Magic * InBetweens * Don't Think Twice, It's Alright * The Last Ride * Need It * Something To Shout About * Bangin' On
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Marr returns to the District
Boomslang is something to shout about
by Timothy Tilghman