Some say it was inevitable, others ask how many “Okes” will there be, but most are letting out a resounding and collective“Yes (biting lip and clenching fist)!” Eastside Luv presents MorrisseyOke™. For one night, patrons of the Boyle Heights bar will be given the chance to try out their rush hour traffic and shower song renditions of Smiths and Morrissey classics in front of a live drinking audience. In the same tradition of MariachiOke™, there will be no bouncy balls or highlighted words for your lyrical comfort; ESL adheres to the “Sink or Swim” policy. Although, I believe most of the attendees and participants are bilingual or trilingual: speaking English, maybe Spanish, but certainly fluent in Moz lyrics. So you won’t be entirely alone on the stage. But when singing along with Morrissey, are you ever really?
His trembling falsetto brings to mind the rich, sad voice of Pedro Infante, while his effeminate stage presence makes him a UK version of Juan Gabriel. As in ranchera, Morrissey’s lyrics rely on ambiguity, powerful imagery and metaphors. Thematically, the idealization of a simpler life and a rejection of all things bourgeois come from a populist impulse common to ranchera.
So prim those pompadours, throw on your cardigan, and be prepared to swoon side to side in communal teary reflection to covers of that Charming Man.