With support from Delilah, Plan B, aka Ben Drew, last night took to the stage for the iTunes Festival 2012.
Decked out in a denim jacket, tight wine red chinos/skinny jeans, and a white t-shirt, ‘The Recluse’, taken from the multi-platinum selling The Defamation of Strickland Banks, kicked things off. Vocally crisp, it’s obvious that Plan B has come in to his own over the past few years, a long way in fact since his underrated debut Who Needs Actions When You Got Words. Witnessing him command a room full of music tastemakers and fans alike was a joy to see. Commercially more accepted yet still one of the mans on road, the way in which he has been groomed over the past few years sees him come across as a professional who just enjoys performing.
Another thing that is apparent is his drastic weight loss. With the screens behind the stage screening early music videos from the Londoner, Drew’s slimmer frame, that has only come about in the last year or two, has him looking healthy, completely different than the videos behind him, and judging from the screaming women in the audience some might even say he’s now a bit of a sex symbol.
Running through recognisable hits such as ‘Welcome To Hell’, ‘Writing’s on the Wall’, and ‘She Said’, Plan B’s set list was like a full on chart attack that the audience could sing word for word. Aside from the hits, the on stage pyrotechnics were also something that the audience responded to in a big way. Being able to feel the flames all the way up in the stands, the entertainment factor was constantly set to ten. Combine this with the backdrop screened music videos that played more like mini movie excerpts, and visually you were stunned from start to finish.
Giving the crowd something else to cheer about, once ‘Playing With Fire’ began to ring out Plan B introduced Delilah, who had been on previously, but that wasn’t all. UK mainstay and the track’s original feature, Labrinth also took the stage much to the excitement of concertgoers.
With his second UK number one album Ill Manors an obvious fan favourite, tracks such as ‘Drug Dealer’, ‘Deepest Shame’, and the system fighting ‘Lost My Way’ were all obvious tracks to play. Energetic from start to finish, Plan B quite literally caused mosh pits to start, arms swaying from one side of the room to the other, and even drinks being flung all over the place. Various music genres were thrown into the mix. The likes of Drum n Bass, soul, and punk were all included in the night’s high octane set.
Even a section of what appeared to be impromptu covers made the cut. Ben E King’s ‘Stand By Me’, Seal’s ‘Kiss From A Rose’, and even a quick few bars of Dr. Dre and Eminem’s ‘Forgot About Dre’ were introduced to the Roundhouse with a Ben Drew twist.
Closing with ‘Stay Too Long’, easily Plan B’s biggest hit to date, his denim jacket finally came off after approximately an hour and a half of sweating. Once the song was finished it was easy to see why he removed the jacket. Treating the stage like his own personal boxing ring, Plan B wrestled members of his band, stole their instruments, and almost kicked a hole in an amp via a guitar but decided against it in the end.
With a huge following in the UK, it’s obvious that Plan B loves his fans. Proclaiming that he will be back next year, it’s easy to see why he’s regarded as one of the UK’s number one talents. An energetic and honest show is what the crowd wanted, and that’s precisely what they got.
Below: photos from Plan B's iTunes festival show, 2012