herald

Thursday 20 June 2019

REVIEW: Brown can't sing ... but when a band's this good, who cares?

THE Monkey Man is levitating. It's a neat trick -- one of the many that Ian Brown performs as the greying 49-year-old strides up and down the stage, looking for something to do as the real talent of The Stone Roses go about their business.

No mind. Every great rock band needs a solid frontman -- someone to look up to. Or just look at. Brown is that character. Can't sing, can't dance, and doesn't say much. But he's the leader. Besides, it would have been foolish to expect anything more from the luckiest lad that ever did pick up a microphone.

Then again, this isn't just Brown's game. You could fit a dozen bands on that big stage at the end of the park. Tonight, however, there is only one -- the one that matters. And though the Roses' merits are questionable (two albums, lads -- that's all I'm saying), it only takes a minute to realise their importance. This isn't some religious experience we're dealing with. Nor is it the greatest concert of all time. But it's a hell of a comeback, and it's all down to guitarist John Squire's wonderful craftsmanship. He's in the form of his life, and he's got a fantastic rhythm section to help.

Indeed, the colourful Mani (that's some shirt he's wearing) appears to have the greatest job in the world -- those piercing bass riffs bouncing off Squire's raucous and, at times, exceptional fretwork. He does it all with a smile on his face, too. Reni, on the other hand, is the beating heart of this band.

He may be in his own world back there under those bright lights and big screens, but he's certainly sharing the goods. And the results are mesmerising.

Waterfall is stunning. Fool's Gold blows several thousand minds. Love Spreads tears right through the field, boasting an instantly recognisable melody. First-rate musicianship at a Roses gig? I wasn't expecting it. But this is 16 years later. Times have changed ... for the better, it seems. And when I Am The Resurrection draws to a close, we're already waiting for the next move. "We shall return," says Brown. We'll hold him to that.

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