A few days later, the magic of the internet brought the clip to the attention of former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, who quipped on Twitter, “This is both funny and horrible at the same time.”
This is both funny and horrible at the same time. https://t.co/GgEEECHpBJ
— Johnny Marr (@Johnny_Marr) September 17, 2021
Sure it’s kind of funny, but it’s definitely hard to see what Marr finds so horrible about the performance. Not only is Astley’s resonant voice perfectly suited for Smiths tunes, but he definitely doesn’t have the, uh, let’s call it baggage of one Steven Patrick Morrissey. And belting the track with renewed vigor in a short-sleeve button-up shirt decorated with palm fronds — that is the definition of magnetism. The crowd sure seemed to love it, too.
For those craving more of Astley covering the Smiths, the singer and the indie-pop band Blossoms — with whom he’s been on tour — have a pair of Smiths tribute shows scheduled in the U.K. this October. The first will take place October 8th at Albert Hall in Manchester, and the second on October 9th at the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London.
To tease the shows, Blossoms shared a rehearsal video in which they played a snippet of “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.”