Ian Brown

Ian Brown’s got some balls. Name his new album after one of the most iconic songs of all time? Why not?

Ian Brown’s got some balls. Name his new album after one of the most iconic songs of all time? Why not? Reform the Stone Roses ‘cause everyone from Pixies to Pulp are giving it another go these days? Fuck that. Cover Jacko and the Beatles? Conform to the Madchester rocker stereotype by routinely throwing shapes with the law? You get the idea. Clearly, Ian Brown doesn’t give a fuck. About you, me or anyone else in the Olympia tonight.

Shuffling on stage in no hurry whatsoever, the 46-year old is as unique and defiant a figure as ever, cracking into the decade-old ‘Love Like A Fountain’ with a menacing punch to the air and happily knocking out some sarcastic banter along the way (later he will even tease the crowd with a “Let’s hear it for Noel Gallagher...”)

For the bulk of the show, everything sludges along at a painfully slow pace. While on record King Monkey’s voice is moulded into a charming honk, in the live show, he drones on and on – songs from different eras of Brown gum together into an indecipherable 40-minute dirge. A brief harmonica solo and some rousing mariachi trumpet on the liberating ‘Stellify’ briefly break the monotony – but the relief is only temporary.

Brown tonight is a one trick pony – the trick being a blinder of an encore, encompassing something old (the rather sublime ‘Fool’s Gold’) something new (the battlesome ‘Just Like You’) and something very, very blue (there was no controlling my shoulder movements for the rapturously chorused ‘F.E.A.R’). When the songs have this much attitude, suddenly all the swagger and the shadow boxing and the lifeless tambourine thrashing start to make sense. When it comes to not giving a fuck, it seems, nobody does it better.

 

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