As the leader of the Smiths, Morrissey helped lead the indie-rock half of the new wave revolution 25 years ago. (Are you listening, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?)
With his new album, "Years of Refusal" (Attack!/Lost Highway), and a tour that has him stopping at more intimate clubs and halls than he has played in years, Morrissey is tapping into his indie-rock roots. After a fiery show Saturday at the Bowery Ballroom, he returns to the area for two more shows tonight and tomorrow.
Here's what to expect:
THE OLD Morrissey's new band takes the Smiths' "This Charming Man" and replaces Johnny Marr's original flowery jangle with guitarist Boz Boorer's muscular, straightforward power chords in the chorus. Not only does it make the classic sound like a whole new song, but it makes it clear exactly how Morrissey and the Smiths influenced the current crop of emo and post-emo kids.
THE NEW The indie vibe fits nicely against new songs - "Black Cloud," which could have just as easily come from Arcade Fire as Moz, and the punk-ish "Something Is Squeezing My Skull," which was even more ferocious live than it is on "Years of Refusal." Of course, Morrissey still knows how to deliver heartache more elegantly than almost anyone, giving the lovely new single "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" an especially poignant reading as he delivered the sad-sack punch line "because only stone and steel accept my love."
THE FUNNY Taking into account the cramped quarters of the Bowery Ballroom, Morrissey asked the shoulder-to-shoulder capacity crowd, "Does anybody have on their person a dead cat? I'd like to see if I can swing it."
WHEN|WHERE 9 tonight at Webster Hall, 125 E. 11th St., Manhattan; and 8 p.m. tomorrow at Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, Manhattan.
INFO $75; bowerypresents.com; carnegiehall.com