The Smyths at the O2

The Smyths in February 2014 Photo Kati Howard

25th January 2014

The Smyths at the O2 Academy Leicester

by Kati Howard ∏

Photos by © Katie Howard Music Photography

This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing The Smyths play at their SOLD OUT show at the O2
Academy’s Scholar Bar. First of all, I was a little sceptical  of whether they would achieve the sound and energy
that The Smiths are so well-known for,  as a lot of tribute bands I’ve seen don’t quite capture what
they aim to.

The Smyths - Graham Sampson Photo Kati Howard
The Smyths – Graham Sampson
Photo Kati Howard


Arriving late, I could straight away hear the voice of vocalist Graham Sampson echoing
Morrissey’s trademark sound as I walked down the steps to enter the show. Upon entering the Scholar Bar, the
promoter Andy Wright, told me that there were so many people in there that there would be no way  for me to get to the front to photograph, and he was correct, there were a lot of people inside although I did manage to get to the front of the stage with my camera!

The first thing I noticed was  the heat of the room hit me as I battled towards the front with my camera, everyone seemed to be singing along and hanging on every word sung by the Morrissey surrogate. It shocked me how many people there were young, as nowadays most young people don’t listen to music like The Smiths, and probably have no clue of their existence.

The Smyths Photo Kati Howard
The Smyths
Photo Kati Howard

As I reached the front of the stage I noticed exactly how much like Morrissey Graham looked, he had the same shirt, hair, glasses and even jaw line! To put this into perspective, Bob Beasley who toured with The Smiths said that Graham looks the part! It took me a minute to realise that they weren’t the actual smiths I was seeing. Unfortunately, due to my lateness, I only saw around three or four songs from the first set, but during these songs the whole band were full of energy, bouncing around and dancing along! Graham even cheekily undid his shirt and caressed his nipples on stage, in true Morrissey style of course!

During their set break I had a small conversation with their merch man, talking about how much Graham acts, sounds and looks like Morrissey, and he told me about how he ‘really gets into character when he is on stage’. I also spoke to a couple of acquaintances who were at the show and they were also shocked with how much they emulated the iconic band. Once the band had started their second set everyone had slowly moved closer and closer to the stage, so I ended up stood at the side of the stage photographing the rest of their set.

The Smyths Photo Kati Howard
The Smyths
Photo Kati Howard


Although the view from side stage is a lot different from the front I enjoyed it as I could see everything the band was doing, and I could also see the intense reactions from the crowd. In my opinion, they are one of the most energetic bands I have seen, and one of the most passionate. The bassist, Simon Smyth was dancing around whilst playing his bass, something I have never seen before! You could just see his energy, passion and joy in his face whilst he was bouncing around on stage. Graham carried on with his amazing energy all through the second set, again caressing his nipples and thrusting his hips in a slightly camp manner. It was clear from my perspective to see that everyone in the crowd was having the times of their lives, dancing around, singing along to every single word and I even saw a young lad who also resembled Morrissey crowd surfing!

I must admit, that I saw one of the most passionate gig-goers I have seen in a while, there was a lady stood at the front singing along to every word with her arms in the air with an expression that resembled someone praying. All in all, it was an amazing show, and they are back on the 7th of November. I know I’m going to buy a ticket and anyone who loves The Smiths should buy one too!

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See also:

Music diary for February

Music diary for January

The Last Dandys

The Blackout at the O2

About The Editor 536 Articles
The Editor of Music in Leicester magazine is Kevin Gaughan assisted by Trevor Locke