There is one phase which superbly sums up a Plan B gig - a concert of two halves.
It might be one of the most overused cliches there is, but is really is the best way to describe the concert at Sherwood Pines Forest Park on Saturday.
The first half of the concert kicked off with the soul-man Plan B, aka Ben Drew, while for the second he travelled back and performed some of his much older, darker material.
The rain had failed to dampen the spirits - another cliche, but again true - of the several thousand fans which came to this Forestry Commission gig.
Up and coming R n B singer NY was first up and despite a superb voice - shown when she sang an acoustic version of Oasis’ Wonderwall - she belted out some pretty forgettable songs.
Next up was soul/jazz singer Kwabs who right from the off had the crowd hooked, well me anyway, with his soulful ballads to his dance gospel tracks. I enjoyed his set so much I spent the day after seeing him downloading some of his songs.
The first half of Plan B’s set saw him dress in a sharp suit, with his backing band looking as though they had come straight from a wedding. He sang his way through most of the hits from his album The Defamation of Strikland Banks - the fictional blue-eyed soul singer which Drew reinvented himself as several years ago.
He opened with The Writings on The Wall and no sooner had the opening few notes being played, than it was obvious the crowd were in for a performance full of energy. Just occasionally while singing the likes of Welcome To Hell, and Pray, a hint of the old Plan B leaked through. There is a burst of rapping in The Recluse and a big hint to the audience of what was to come.
The crowd were in full voice for She Said, and for Drew’s covers of Stand By Me and Seal’s Kiss From a Rose.
The turning point came when Faith SFX had the crowd fixated with his human beatbox. Quite frankly how one man can make so many extraordinary sounds is mesmerising and was worth the entrance fee alone.
Once he had got the crowed whipped into a frenzy Plan B returned to perform some of his older tracks, including a version of Paolo Nutinis’s Coming Up Easy, as well as songs from his directorial debut film Ill Manors.
The crowd was now as excited as the band who were moshing around the stage and tree lined area, knocking one another around, before he returned for his encore - an exciting version of Stay Too Long, which superbly combined Plan B, both old and new.
by Sam Chetwynd
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