Monday, March 31, 2008

Scenes from the Morrissey Convention

I went, and I stood on my own.

I checked out the annual Morrissey convention for the first time on Sunday night. It was held at Crash Mansion LA downtown and emceed by Richard "Flashback Favorites" Blade.

I had been to several KISS and Cher conventions, and I have to say the Morrissey convention paled in comparison to them when it came to memorabilia and schwag. There were only maybe 5 vendor tables set up in the lobby, peddling buttons, t-shirts, bootlegs. That aspect of the show was disappointing.

The entertainment more than made up for the lack of merchandise. These Charming Men, a Morrissey/Smiths tribute band from Dublin, played two sets. They played an all-Smiths set and then an all-Morrissey set. Singer Lee Brady looked more like Frank Whaley than Moz, but he sounded a lot like Moz, and the band members were skilled musicians. The end product was a very effective tribute. Fans sang along to every tune. The club was rockin' especially toward the end of the Morrissey set when the band played the anthemic "Irish Blood, English Heart."

Other activities included a "Name that Tune" contest. I was impressed at the fans who could name the Morrissey tunes in a few notes, even though Richard Blade did give out a few hints. There was a tattoo contest where fans showed off the Moz heads on their biceps and backs (and one girl showed off "Viva Hate" tattooed on her belly).

A guy proposed to his girlfriend on stage, stating that she was a big Moz fan so he thought this was an appropriate venue. Yes, there is a light that never goes out.

Former Morrissey band member
Gary Day made an appearance for a brief DJ set.

Standing on the sidelines in true "How Soon Is Now?" fashion, I really enjoyed the people watching. The crowd was 98% Chicano and many were dressed to the nines. There were a lot of rockabilly types and gals in 50s clothes with fantastic hairstyles or Betty Page bangs. Many guys were rockin' the pompadour. I really didn't fully understand the appeal of Morrissey to the Chicano crowd, so I read up on it in Ask a Mexican by Gustavo Arellano. Arellano likens Morrissey's music to ranchera and his effeminate stage presence to Juan Gabriel. Morrissey has returned the affection he got from the Chicano crowd by moving to Los Angeles (or "Moz Angeles" as one fan's T-shirt said) for a spell and by once declaring he wished he'd been born Mexican. Morrissey's theme of alienation appeals to Chicanos and, well, just about everyone at some point or another.

And I left on my own.

Check out my photo album for more pics of the Moz Con.

Remember, people, Morrissey has your back.

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