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Pictures and review: Plan B presents his many guises at Plymouth Pavilions

By RWhitehouse  |  Posted: February 13, 2013

  • Plan B at Plymouth Pavilions pic by leapimages.co.uk

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Review: Plan B @ Plymouth Pavilions

By Richard Whitehouse

PART way through Plan B's triumphant gig at Plymouth Pavilions I wondered whether the multi-talented performer might sometimes feel as though he is having an identity crisis.

A singer, rapper, director, actor and writer  - with so much going on at once it's surprising that he doesn't get confused about which persona he is taking on next.

This problem is solved by the structure of this latest tour – dubbed the Grindhouse tour in a nod to the double bill feature films of the '70s which were revived and riffed on by Tarantino more recently.

He starts out in his Strickland Banks guise, decked out in a natty burgundy suit and backed by a sharp suited band. What follows is the winning mix of white boy soul which helped him to the top of the charts – with a film detailing The Defamation of Strickland Banks playing as a backdrop.

Then, in true film style, the credits roll and Strickland Banks (or is it Plan B or Ben Drew?) departs along with his band to prepare for the second half.

In the "interval" we are treated to a beatboxing tour de force which takes in everything from Star Wars to bass heavy house beats.

And then Plan B returns, this time in T-shirt, camouflage trousers and bomber jacket, ready to tackle Ill Manors – his smash hit album from last year.

It's a nod back to his hip hop roots from his debut record and live the sound is enormous – all pounding beats, metal heavy guitars and lyrics spat out at a rate of knots.

The crowd responds, perhaps with a little too much gusto, almost replicating the violent scenes being relayed on screen from the Ill manors feature film – you have to wonder whether Drew's arch social commentary on the state of the nation and its council estates has perhaps been missed by a section of his fans…

But while a third of the crowd were moshing, another third dancing, there was a section of the crowd who were clearly more familiar with the Strickland Banks guise and looked a little surprised by the urban transformation.

Then, once more the credits run and it's all over. Well, until he returns for an encore which features an extended jam which takes in Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake along the way before it all ends with a welcome repeat of the Ill Manors title track.

It all makes you wonder where Plan B will go next – more soul or more hip hop? I just hope that whatever he decides he will share his live show with us down here once more…

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