Plan B, Haydock Park Racecourse - Saturday July 21, 2018
It would seem there is no end to actor, director, producer and musician Ben Drew’s talents - better known to you and I as Plan B.
Eight years on since ‘Defamation of Strickland Banks’ stormed the UK album charts and five years since his last single, the east-London rapper/singer is back with his long-awaited fourth album ‘Heaven Before All Hell Breaks Loose’.
This latest incarnation sees the BRIT Award winner shift from the soulful hip-hop sound that thrust him into the mainstream in favour of a more eclectic mix of styles, and of course a fresh new look.
From hoodie wearing rapper in 2006 through to the sharp suited crooner in 2009, Plan B’s 2018 evolution leaves him almost unrecognisable to audiences.
You could hear the audible crowd reaction to the rapper’s new sleek physique and otherworldly silver hair - then there is the small matter of the white painted chin strap, at least that’s what I guessed it was.
Opening his set, for what was an unusually cloudy Saturday evening in July, with the opening track of his new album, ‘Grateful’, clearly reflects that change, maybe that of becoming a parent or a little more content - It’s not just a new look we’re witnessing.
Tracks from his last two albums were swiftly delivered with incredible energy and a flawless vocal performance before drawing breath to engage with the intimate Haydock race day crowd.
Considering his lyrical dexterity, Plan B is a man of few words between tracks, leaving much of the chat and audience participation to his crew.
The energy hit new heights in the second half with tracks including; ‘The Recluse’, ‘Lost My Way’, ‘Ill Manors’ and his latest single ‘Guess Again’ reigniting the audience between an acoustic version of ‘Love Goes Down’ as well as chart favourite ‘She Said.’
I must admit I did think the mixed Haydock crowd could have been easily lost with some of his stronger socio-political lyrics, but his energy alone had everyone dancing, singing and even bouncing along to every tune.
I must say that seeing three-piece suited men, bouncing up and down to the sounds of Plan B is an odd sight that I won’t forget.
Closing the set with his Top Ten single ‘Stay Too Long’ this exhilarating performance crammed with pop, R&B, drum ‘n’ bass and gospel was a wonderful reintroduction to Plan B the performer.
Love Goes Down (acoustic)
Lost My Way
Welcome to Hell
Wait So Long
Stay Too Long