JSU Live Review

Claremont Landscape Gardens, Esher, Surrey
Sunday 25th July 2004


Bluesky Research (approx 7pm)
Bluesky Reseach were on first, they made for nice background music while we had our first drinks and ate our burgers but there was nothing else to report on this mediocre collective.

Aziz acoustic set (approx 8.15pm) (Aziz Ibrahim & Dalbir Singh)

Regardless of all who doubt him, Aziz Ibrahim is a talented guitar player, it has to be said. He certainly put on a show tonight, he fingers flew either side of the fretboard, reverse picking, he played with just a guitar lead and the pickups, he even played with just his teeth at a couple of times during his set. Dalbir Singh is just as talented. Banging out beats faster than anyone I've seen lately… acoustic? Not really, not with the range of effects Aziz whipped through but it was hard to believe that there was only the two of them playing as the sounds they were making between them were intense.

First off was an instrumental, followed by 'Kills Me' which is a song about a friend who is dating a stripper, apparently, it featured on his debut ep 'Middle Road' (2000). Next was his most famous tune, 'Murassi', I first heard the instrumental track for the first time in 1997 when it was given away on a Guitar magazine CD, since then it's been on his debut LP 'Lahore To Longsight' and bits of it were perfectly inserted into Ian Brown album intro tracks 'My Star' and 'Getting High' and his performance of it here was mesmerising. Next up we were treated to his rendition of 'Corpses' that he co-wrote with Brown. His version is a more epic indo-fuelled journey. Next was debut EP title track 'Middle Road' then followed a mini guitar/percussion drum off where the two showboated for the crowd. Aziz and Dalbir end the set with Aziz's LP title track instrumental 'Lahore To Longsight'. A member of the crew also hands out a few copies of the EP on 7" to nearby fans

Paul Stevens, 2004

01.Unknown Instrumental
02.Kills Me
05.Middle Road
06.Lahore To Longsight

The Main Event
Ian Brown (approx 9.15pm)
It was only when Aziz was finishing up on stage, that I noticed the sheer amount of people present behind me and covering the hill. The wait was not long and there he was, Ian Brown walks on to an enormous roar from the 4,800 crowd.

Paul Stevens, 2004

I had the benefit of hearing the rumours of possible Roses tunes on the set-list, but I couldn't believe it until the bassline of 'I Wanna Be Adored' rang out, as poignant as it ever was, it is a shame that Mani was not there to provide them.

It seems that the rumours of the guitar and bass being provided by tribute band Fools Gold were true, as a Squire lookey-like was standing on my left and a faux-pollacked bass was played on my right. Brownie's vocal kicked in and I for one was amazed, he'd obviously been practicing hard this time around as his voice was as close to a 1989 studio version as I've ever heard live. Ian Brown sounded great throughout the track.

Next came the melodies of 'Sally Cinnamon' and it's just as sweet and finished with Brown's first acapella reprise of the evening and it was perfect, Ian obviously showing off his practised voice. Sugar Spun Sister had everyone in the crowd (those who weren't already) singing along.

'Waterfall' was the first real point that it felt a little like a karaoke section, the guitar parts and bass throughout tonight were played well but sounded a little too practised. I was not entirely convinced by what Ian Brown was doing here. It was a giddy-little-thrill to hear him singing Stone Roses tunes again, but whereas with the John Squire performances were with John's backing band and he was trying to make them his own, Ian Brown was here trying to replicate original The Stone Roses sound with two members of a cover band, who clearly were not John Squire and Gary 'Mani' Mounfield. The 'Waterfall' verses/chorus were played near-perfectly, albeit without that Squire emotion but the solo just didn't sound right, the outro was funky enough though and got everyone there dancing madly on the spot.

'Mersey Paradise' and 'Made Of Stone' were two near-note-perfect tracks from Ian Brown, both were perfect sing-a-longs for the crowd too, especially the superb acapella reprise that Brown provided, he encouraged the crowd to sing along with him and it was nearly as loud as when the band were playing! Next came the dance-feast freak-out in the form of one of The Stone Roses perfect pop songs 'She Bangs The Drums', everybody was dancing and bouncing about more than I've seen at any Squire performance of the track. Next up was 'Where Angels Play', a rarer Stone Roses (live) tune, long taken off the Roses set-list and not performed by anyone since. Next Brown asked the audience to be as silent as possible on the count of three, he provided the count and half the audience cheer, "no", Brown said and reiterated what he wanted, he counted again and then another cheer, after the third attempt failed, he replied, "you've got no vibe" and carried on into 'Elizabeth My Dear' that single verse message from the 1989 debut LP.

Next was the perfect closer for the Roses' debut LP, 'I Am The Resurrection', great vocals provided by Brown again, a near perfect version, until the famous solo, when the cover band members remember that they're not the real Stone Roses. The bassline into the phenomenal outro, just didn't sound right, and half the guitar parts were lost and/or unrecognisable. 'Fools Gold' followed, the ultimate Stone Roses dancing song, I'm not the only one excited with I hear the first bass line (which again, didn't sound quite right to me) but I had a flashback to the recent John Squire ICA performance of the track, I couldn't help remembering what a superb performance of the track it was, sure Brown wasn't singing but this track has always been more of an instrumental than a vocal based track and John Squire had played the guitar more funky than I'd ever heard and his bassist did it proud. With that in mind, I was a bit too aware of the guitar parts and the bassline, but it was well received by the crowd who dance their baggy-socks off.

And that was the last of The Stone Roses tunes for the evening, Brown thanked the guitarist and bassist, who wondered off the stage, as soon as they're off, the intro to 'My Star' boomed over the system to a rapturous applause. Everyone's had their best singing voices on again and bounced along to Brownie's debut hit and another acapella at the end to boot. Then was the classic 'Dolphins Were Monkeys' which Brownie almost ad-lib'ed in places, all very cool and in perfect timing and ended with another vocal-only reprise, the man was smoking now and pulled loads of poses inbetween tracks, fans threw all manner of hats, jackets, etc at him and he tried a few on. 'Golden Gaze' preceded the ever-popular, ever-genius 'F.E.A.R.' the string intro flooded over the sound system. Brownie missed the second line but mistakes tonight were few and far between, otherwise it was a near perfect recital.

Finally, we were treated to the one and only brand new tune of the evening, 'Time Is My Everything' started with an introduction to a trumpet player, who remains in the spotlight for the duration. And it was filled with trumpet and surprisingly it sounded great, I remember seeing Brownie interviewed some time ago, saying that he wanted to use trumpets "cos no one else uses them and they sound majestic", here was the product of that, I guess. I can't wait to hear a studio version.

All too soon, it was over. Brown thanked us all and wandered off stage… And in true Roses-style, Brown resisted the chants of "I-an, I-an, I-an" after he walked off stage and gave no encore. I guess we'll have to wait for the single / album release to hear the new material, with a proper tour following shortly after.

Those who were disappointed that he didn't play enough new material, didn't look too unhappy and the rest of us left, blown away.

Paul Stevens, 2004


01.I Wanna Be Adored
02.Sally Cinnamon
03.Sugar Spun Sister
05.Mersey Paradise
06.Made Of Stone
07.She Bangs The Drums
08.Where Angels Play
09.Elizabeth My Dear
10.I Am The Resurrection
11.Fools Gold
12.My Star
13.Dolphins Were Monkeys
14.Golden Gaze
16.Time Is My Everything

Paul Stevens, 2004

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