Great music goes according to Plan

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Plan B - Empress Ballroom, Blackpool

TO appreciate new music, you have to go back to the past according to Plan B.

And some classic early 90’s dance anthems helped warm up the crowd as Ben Drew was welcomed on to stage.

But new music clearly wasn’t what this audience had in mind.

An old fashioned cinema sign above the stage read The Defamation Of Strickland Banks, and a massively eclectic group packed the Empress Ballroom to hear it.

The baggy jeans brigade rapped the fast bits while groups of women, couples and even a few families belted out the more famous of the hits in a crowd showing the breadth of Plan B’s following.

Forgetting the grimy story behind his concept album, many tracks have a sing along appeal which makes them feel like modern classics.

Soul sounding numbers like Free, Writings On The Wall and Love Goes Down came first. Ben Drew was impressively tuneful throughout a whirlwind 90-minute set – and when chart smash She Said was eventually played, the crowd sang every word.

Backing singers added to the atmosphere of a dimly lit, smoky stage, although there was a screen for visuals, graphics were more basic than you might expect.

Despite the runaway success of Strickland Banks, his new album The Ballad of Belmarsh, sees a return to his hip hop roots. But like a true showman, he delivered exactly what a seemingly soul-loving audience wanted.

A section perhaps cheekily dedicated to mum and dads saw a sprinkling of Seal, Bill Withers, Ben E King and even The Temptations.

An epic encore with a Stay Too Long finale sent dancers sweating into the night.

Lisa Ettridge