After 3 months of high-profile shows at the iconic location in Halifax it was time for the “closing ceremony” of The Piece Hall’s Summer Series for 2023 – and it was down to a couple of much-loved Indie icons to do so.

With local act Wax-Tree Cast’s 25-minute set of exhilarating guitars, pink outfits and unrelenting coolness opening proceedings the crowd, already full of anticipation and local ales, were primed and ready for some nostalgia.

Absolute icon Johnny Marr didn’t shy away from playing the big tracks from his Smiths days with “Panic” popping up first, his solo stuff stands up well and shows not only how strong a guitarist he is but also how strong and varied a songwriter he is. The new stuff goes down well but it’s The Smiths classics that unsurprisingly get the biggest reactions. “Bigmouth Strikes Again” and “This Charming Man” sees men of all ages, but mainly middle, dancing like they were back in the early 80s and late teens again. It’s a joy to see and even better to hear. Johnny simply says “uh-oh” before the intro to “How Soon is Now” rings out from the stage. Iconic guitarist, iconic tune, iconic venue. It was the perfect moment.

Later in the set he introduces his friend and “national treasure” Tim Burgess of The Charlatans onto the stage, the two of them share a hug before launching into an energetic version of “Getting Away With It” from Marr’s supergroup Electronic. He closed the set with a wondrous “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” and left with as big a smile as he had left on the faces of the audience. There have been many great sets seen this summer in Halifax but that was undeniably one of the best.

The Charlatans were not to be outdone and performed a set purposefully designed to evoke and create some incredible memories. With Tim looking as happy as a pig in shit to be performing at The Piece Hall they tore through a set that drew predominantly from their early years. “Can’t Get Out of Bed’, “Then” and “North Country Boy” were early highlights.

The excitement and hysteria reached a new level when the Hammond organ and driving bass intro to “Weirdo” took to the sky and only went up from there when “One to Another” followed it.

They sounded fantastic, and Tim Burgess was having a great time conducting the crowd and making sure everyone was enjoying themselves. They closed the main set with a raucous version of “How High” with Tim at his most Mancunian and with a Liamesque sneer in his vocals.

They brought out Johnny Marr for the final two songs of the night “Plastic Machinery” and a truly astounding “Sproston Green” which ended with Tim leaving the stage while the band jammed to a close. It was an incredible end to an incredible show and a truly fitting way to end the Piece Hall’s summer of music.

With a series of shows that included everything from Sting, Madness, Queens of the Stone Age, George Ezra, James and Limp Bizkit, The Piece Hall has raised the bar yet again and it will take some beating next year – but there’s no doubt that they will – already making fans of live music eager to see who is announced for next year. See you there.