REVIEW; Mark Morriss - 53 Degrees, Preston

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Mark Morriss, a man who played to thousands at huge venues in the glory days of the 90s, must have had mixed feelings about turning out at the students union in Preston and performing to a crowd of, at a optimistic guess, 50.

It is like Lionel Messi, a decade down the line, playing for Halifax Town.

But credit to Morriss, frontman of former indie favourites The Bluetones, now flying solo, for delivering a show that was little short of terrific.

“For those of you at the front filming this,” the 41-year-old said, after bashing out Slight Return, which reached number two in 1996, “for God’s sake don’t put it on You Tube. There’ll be people saying ‘isn’t that the bloke who was on Top of the Pops once, why’s there no one watching him? Blimey he must have fallen on hard times‘.”

He was refreshingly self-deprecating throughout, impressive from an artist who had more success than most - no less than 13 top 40 singles and three top 10 albums in a career that’s lasted 16 years and counting.

His set on Friday mixed old favourites - Bluetonic, Marblehead Johnson, Sleazy Bed Track - with material from a new solo album due later this year.

Judging from the superb opener - It’s Hard to be Good all of the Time - his new stuff will be worth listening to.

Morriss was a joy to watch, powerful voice combined with melodic guitar, and talkative and witty between songs.

Just a pity there weren’t more to see it.