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Ian Brown criticised for “karaoke gig” as he opens UK tour without a band

The former Stone Roses frontman played in Leeds last night (September 25)

By Tom Skinner

Ian Brown performing live on-stage
Ian Brown performs live. CREDIT: Alamy

Ian Brown is facing criticism on social media after playing a live show in Leeds without a backing band.

Last night (September 25), the former Stone Roses frontman began his first UK headline tour in over a decade at the city’s O2 Academy. Brown hadn’t played a gig since before the pandemic, and had refused to perform at any venues or festivals that had COVID measures in place.

Footage from yesterday’s concert has since emerged online, with many fans expressing their disappointment over the singer’s minimal stage set up. The clips show Brown performing completely on his own to an instrumental backing track.

“Gutted to see [Ian Brown] turn up to his £40 a ticket, sold out gig at Leeds tonight WITH NO BAND,” wrote one attendee on Twitter. “I’m a life long fan but it was bad.

“[Ian Brown] does karaoke and butchers his own tunes. Most were too pissed to care but I had to get out after this one. Longsight M13 was a highlight.”

Another said: “Ian Brown singing over backing tracks in Leeds tonight. No live band on stage. Wtf?”

Elsewhere, someone wrote: “[It’s] just very hollow without the band. [Brown’s] voice was OK I thought. Acoustics in Leeds 02 are strange, in front of stage is always good but under the balcony section always sounds tinny in my opinion.”

Others expressed their concern for Brown, with one saying that he seemed “worn out” on-stage in Leeds. A second fan said it was “genuinely really sad to see” the singer performing live in such a manor.

Additionally, some people noted the lack of Stone Roses songs in the 23-song set, which ended with an airing Brown’s of classic single ‘F.E.A.R.’ (2001).

“If you are a fan of Ian Brown’s solo stuff and you have tickets for his tour, you’ll love it but don’t go expecting Stone Roses songs or a backing band as he has neither. Decent night though,” one concertgoer said.

Some attendees defended Brown, however. “I was there and I saw a sold out show full of people on their feet enjoying every minute,” a Twitter used wrote. Another said it was a “decent night”, despite the staging format and lack of Stone Roses songs: “If you are a fan of Ian Brown’s solo stuff and you have tickets for his tour, you’ll love it.”

Brown’s UK headline tour is due to continue tonight (September 26) ahead of further shows in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool and other cities. The stint will conclude with a performance at the O2 Academy Brixton in London on October 7. Find the full itinerary and ticket details here.

Throughout the pandemic, Brown posted a series of controversial tweets in relation to the COVID-enforced lockdowns and restrictions, as well as sharing anti-vax statements on Twitter. He also released an anti-lockdown track called ‘Little Seed Big Tree’.

Last summer, the singer was removed from the TRNSMT 2021 line-up after it was confirmed that festivalgoers would be required to show proof of a negative lateral flow test or be fully vaccinated against COVID to gain entry.

Ian Brown’s seventh and most recent solo album, ‘Ripples’, came out in 2019.