Brown tackled the Jackson song midway through ‘What Happened To Ya’, a track from his debut album ‘Unfinished Monkey Business’. He even attempted the piercing high notes in the chorus. While he was pleased with the crowd reaction, he felt the song had been best appreciated on the previous leg of the tour.
“In Japan, they understood what I was doing with that. The reaction there was amazing,” he told NME after one of his two gigs at the Belfast Limelight.
Brown was also keen to praise his band, comprising former Stone Roses guitarist Aziz Ibrahim, percussionist Inder Matharu, formerly of Fun^Da^Mental, bassist Sylvan Richardson and ex-Fall drummer Simon Wolstencroft.
“We’re the untouchables,” he said. “By the end of the year, nobody will come near us. We’ve taken 15 months to get this far, and now it’s really coming together.”
He added that he had “a big bag of new tunes” for a follow-up album to 1998’s ‘Unfinished Monkey Business’. “They’re coming from everywhere.”
New songs played included ‘So Many Soldiers’, a reggae track and ‘Getting High’, a blues-influenced song in the tradition of Stone Roses songs like ‘Love Spreads’ and ‘Driving South’. Brown also covered Jimi Hendrix‘s ‘Little Wing’ (Ibrahim played the guitar solo with his teeth) and ‘See The Dawn’, a B-side to the ‘My Star’ single and the remaining tracks were from ‘Unfinished Monkey Business’.
Brown was unhappy that the poster advertising the Cork gig featured the silhouette of a plane flying over a photo of the singer – a reference to Brown‘s prison sentence last year for an ‘air rage’ conviction.
In Dublin, fans hurled objects on to the stage, and Brown wore a Madchester-style beanie hat and some shades that came his way. When a bra was thrown at him, he wore it around his neck for a short time.
Aside from his V99 appearances, Brown won’t be performing in the UK in the near future, as recording for his second album will be given priority. Tickets for V99 are available from nme.com‘s 24-hour ticketline on 0870 121 0125 or click here to go to our online gig guide and ticket service.