Photo: Daniel Deme / WENN.com
Ian Brown’s tenth appearance at the Brixton Academy – usually one of the best venues in the country - should’ve been amazing. On late Saturday night it was the perfect opportunity to get messy and have a little dance. The Godlike genius has just returned with solo album number six and it’s as good as anything he’s done in years. Unfortunately what conspired was a muddled together set list beset by sound problems. Although it should be said this was down to the Academy rather than Brown himself.
Striding on stage just after half 11, Brown looked half his age in a black tracky top and shades. His baggy t-shirt harked back to his Roses days, albeit now designer. Renowned for starting big ‘Golden Gaze’ followed ‘Love Like A Fountain’ – both from 1999’s ‘Golden Greats’ - had the crowd cutting the kind of shapes last seen in the Hacienda. The front of half of the Academy had been grinning like Cheshire cats for the best part of an hour before he came on and although the vocal was quiet they weren’t disappointed with the early basslines!
‘Crowing of The Poor’ started a 5-track reconnaissance to latest LP ‘My Way’ with ‘Corpses’ thrown into the middle. Dedicated to racist women everywhere. Brown spat “One thing that gets my goat is a racist girl, that's the worst thing in the world. What do you think of the BNP and that? I ain't got time for that shit. They have corpses in their mouths.” Unfortunately by now the sound was terrible. ‘Own Brain’ and ‘Marathon Man’ had to be re-started twice as Brown repeatedly left the stage to complain to the engineer.
This meant the bars picked up a lot of business before Brown battled on to produce the best of his material, old and new. Other bands may well have fucked it off and left the stage to get stuck into their ryder early but that is not the Brown way. ‘Sister Rose’ and the ever rip-roaring ‘F.E.A.R.’ got the crowd back, although the latter could’ve been played on the recorder and still left the crowd dribbling.
Staying on stage, the spoken verse of ‘Elizabeth My Dear’ set up ‘Fools Gold,’ which brought back nostaglic memories for much of the late-twenties crowd. Latest singles ‘Stellify’ and ‘Just Like You’ sealed his comeback from the technical difficulties but it should’ve been so much more. “See ya for number 11,” he saluted. Probably, but better bring your own sound man.