Review: Ian Brown swaggers into Ipswich

WHEN on stage he bobs and weaves like a boxer and last night Ian Brown received a champion's reception from an adoring crowd at the Ipswich Regent.

Elliot Furniss

WHEN on stage he bobs and weaves like a boxer and last night Ian Brown received a champion's reception from an adoring crowd at the Ipswich Regent.

Swaggering into the spotlight to a rapturous round of applause, the ex-Stone Roses frontman began the evening with an unexpected gag about hospitals before launching into a 90 minute set of tracks all taken from his six studio albums, with one notable exception.

Of course, the slick encore performance of Fools Gold - the only song of the night originally performed by his former band - was the obvious highlight for the majority in the theatre.


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Brown has inspired a legion of imitators and wannabes but this was the real thing, making his first appearance in Ipswich and turning back time for the many thirty-something men in the crowd who cheered on the hero of their teenage years.

After opening with Love Like a Fountain, Golden Gaze and All Ablaze, his impressive five-piece band continued to provided deep baselines, mariachi trumpets and nimble percussion alongside stirring string samples that helped bring out the best of his limited vocal range.

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On this showing he would hardly warrant a minute of the X Factor judges' time, but it was never his voice that has made Brown such a magnetic performer.

His lyrics aren't much better, often making little sense, but by including a trio of energetic dancers in his onstage line-up and simply letting go and enjoying himself, somehow it all works.

When he gets it all right, such as with F.E.A.R. or Stellify, from his latest album My Way, even now, 20 years after the glory days of Madchester, he is worthy of the iconic status bestowed upon him.

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