(Planet Me)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Ian Brown - Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall - 23 October 2007

Twelve years on from the final Stone Roses excursion, Ian Brown shores up with his biggest ever tour of suburban town halls, armed with a stonking new record “The World Is Yours”, aided by his backing band (mostly filched from a Stone Roses tribute act) and former Smith Andy Rourke as DJ and occasional bassist. The chilly seaside town in winter is hardly the place to relive the Manchester Hacienda (1989), but Brown manages to successfully negate this with his very own Whovian moment of musical time travel. Instead of looking back though, Brown is always looking forward – exploring new areas and new dimensions.

Unfortunately for him, there has rarely been a gap wider than those few feet between the stage and the crowd. Whilst Brown makes the odd concession to his brilliant past (by opening with “I Wanna Be Adored”, closing with the disco frenzy guitar-rave of “I Am The Resurrection” and encoring with a sublime “Fools Gold”), it's painfully apparent that at least a lot of tonights constituency aren't forward thinking Mofo's, but Oasis-loving idiots intent on curling up to a nostalgia trip. Large portions of the evening fall flat, irrespective of artistic worth, primarily because the band aren't playing Stone Roses songs. Simply put, Browns musical direction – a unique blend of western and eastern influences lead by thrilling strings and trumpets underpinned by keen beats and a wonderful lyrical mysticism – isn't quite guitary enough for the musical heathens.

Or perhaps there's something a little threatening about being stuck near a gang of 10-12 beery lads shouting “STONE ROSES! STONE ROSES!” all night long, before bumping around to the 3 old songs Brown played. This lads-together, hugging-sweaty-manflesh thing is semi-homo-erotic (yet as erotic, and as appealing as, watching a dog take a shit). At several points, the 'Lads' think it acceptable to push ignorantly past anyone they like because Beer Can't Wait.

Brown meanwhile stands aloof above it all. Twice during the show he stops the band mid-song to chastise some idiot fuckmonkey fighting in the crowd. Emphatically refusing to continue singing until the fool leaves, Brown shames the man into leaving. Three songs later, the man is back, and at it again. This time round security escort him off the premises to universal jeers of 1,000 voices chanting “Wanker! Wanker!”

Not pleasant at all. But in the cold light of day, the person in question will never forget the night they were shamed in front of thousands.

The evening resumes swiftly. With the odd minor exception, Brown and his ctpable band roar confidently through several classics from the solo canon with songs of veiled genius such as “Golden Gaze”, “Keep What Ya Got”, “Dolphins Were Monkeys”, “My Star”, “Corpses”, and a collossal, brilliant tone-poem of “F.E.A.R.”. Whilst personally, I preferred Brown's band with the unfairly vilified ex-Roses guitarist Aziz on the six strings, his current lineup is certainly musically in no way lacking. Refreshingly, the band recast the Roses numbers faithfully, missing the retro-revisionism of the final Roses tours massive and thick guitar sounds in favour of the thinner, cleaner guitar tones of the era.

Aside from the fact that Brown is a brilliant frontman – like a likeable Gallagher with the air of arrogant, unearned menace removed – he is, frankly sometimes a pisspoor singer. You never know if he's going to be in tune, or going to sound like a seal shouting through a foghorn into a bucket. Sadly, on several occasions Brown manages to quell the dancefloor frugging by sounding like exactly that. Aside from that minor quibble – the beauty spot on Browns work that makes Monroe beautiful – Brown and his band are tight, cohesive, blessed with a confident vision backed up by ability and talent, and a refreshingly unique blend of influences going forward on the edges of inner space.

Loved the comments about the boorish twats who were pushing every body about & wanking over the Stone Roses. THOSE DAYS ARE GONE LADS, GET OVER IT. Ian's influence will go on forever, but time moves on & music changes. Those of us who were in Manc at the time love what Ian's doing now. He isn't a big time superstar because he's too busy looking after his kids & being a family man. We loved the Folkestone gig. Just wished he'd given me the united jacket, he can afford it. I'll get it at Manchester in December.
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