Ian Brown - Rock City
Live Review

Ian Brown – Rock City, Nottingham

With recent Q LEGEND Ian Brown’s new top 5, string strong ‘The World is Yours’ LP out and shaking it all about as you’d expect, I was thankfully one of the faithful fellow monkeys to catch him in the live act at Rock City Nottingham. But you’ll have to forgive me for my shoddy recollection; nobody told me they sold beer at these things! With my beer goggles strapped tight, I ventured onward in the pursuit of enlightenment!

After chewing both ears off Nat at the overpriced merchandise counter as well as lonely guy servicing the petition for Palestine point whose name I’ve shamefully forgotten, I clambered up the somewhat sticky stairs, awash with the second hand rain from that horrid night outside, and on into the vibrant belly of the beast. The mystery support act on stage is all but finished playing by the time I return from the 3 deep bar and so, the seemingly endless and anticipation charged wait begins.

As Ian Brown takes to the stage, I find myself up to my ears with bouncing beer fuelled bodies, each clearly eager to see the man! Marching on the spot to the majestic sounds of ‘I Wanna be Adored’ an old starting favourite of the Stone Roses I seem to recall Brown’s clearly loving it and recognition of that fact shines from every exasperated grin that beams right back at him from all who are present tonight.

“Manchester in the area!”


Kicking the encore off with ‘I am the Resurrection’ spurring a fresh wave of revelry and as the show goes on, IB playing the crowd well, stirring up a right old frenzy as he shakes the outstretched hands of the devoted and saluting those unfortunate folk too distant to touch.

There are a few classics amidst the predominantly new material and though both are well received the earlier songs notably get a bigger reaction. A nice highlight for the night is provided when the bass line for ‘Fools Gold’ kicks in, getting everyone geared up, foot on the pedal and ready to rock before, what’s this? The World is Yours’ over the ‘Fools Gold’ bass line, suck my stump! I hope that’s beer on my jeans! Unexpected, yes, a pleasant surprise, yes, do we want more? Hell yes! And from there on in, turning back was in no way an option for any semi sane man or woman. The night escalated into a riotous and rapturous rollicking rollercoaster ride on which we all rode, all the way home, with each of our internal soundtracks surely playing F.E.A.R, tonight’s closing and doubt crushing track.

Having been here at Rock City for the recent Happy Mondays gig, another Manchester born mob of mayhem stirring monkeys, I come to realise just what it was that had been needling me all night, mostly ineffectively owing to the beer but, I hear it now. On the aforementioned strong string album, as well as any of his material for that matter, you can usually find a killer bass that’s ever present and ever shaking your insides. The Happy Mondays had a sound crew manning the mixing desk, tweaking here and optimising there, to the point of getting their lead singer Shaun Ryder to cry out in pain! Tonight at the mixing desk, there’s nobody doing the do and the sound quality has suffered irreparably because of it. To summarise and to get to what I’m painstakingly getting at then, it sounded tonight like a show at a University bar or less prestigious venue, not the Rock City we all know and love for its sharp yet deafening dynamics.

The amazing show enjoyed by all wound ever so slightly down to a chaotic close and I took to the drier and darkened streets amidst a buzzing band of merry men and women. Hospitably greeted by the screams and yells of manic street merchandisers selling their wares to the wary, I helped myself to a T and ambled along on my merry way for one last pint at the Rescue Rooms. On my way I tugged and jabbered at numerous innocent bystanders until one of them would agree to an interview. Jamie Chalmers, long time Roses/IB fan has come all the way from sunny Coventry to be here tonight. He had this to say of the show…

“Reading 96 was over a decade ago and tonight I’m buzzing, I couldn’t wait for tonight to come and now I’ve seen him again, I’m buzzing!. I headed for the front to get crushed into the spirit of things, wiggling through the bodies to get nice and close! When Ian came out the crowd went mental, I knew they would. In 20 years time IB would still get a different audience going, makes my spine tingle man! Why won’t the Roses reform, The Verve have done it! Anyway, top night and watch out for his best stuff, ‘cause he’s got more to come”.

There you have it then, IB the man, the legend, the resurrection? Well, he is trying to do his bit for Palestine! With reports coming in of a planned collaboration with an Adidas tracksuit clad orchestra to accompany a dickey bow boasting IB as he reworks his works to date, watch this space, maybe his best is yet to come.

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