Review: Plan B, The Dome, Doncaster

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ANOTHER venue is packed to the rafters for the phenomenon that is Plan B.

A multi-talented 27-year-old Londoner christened Benjamin Ballance-Drew, his 2010 concept album The Defamation Of Strickland Banks débuted at the top of the album charts and has sold close to a million copies.

His soulful crooning with hard hitting rap thrown in is a far cry from his 2006 début album of hip hop Who Needs Action When You Got Words, which sneaked into the top 30.

If that isn’t a big enough indication of his talent, Ben is also an accomplished actor appearing in Harry Brown and Adulthood and will be directing a film later this year.

His appeal covers all ages, with fans here ranging from teenagers to the grey brigade, dancing and clapping hands above heads to wonderful melodies that have a Motown feel.

Tonight Plan B is suited and booted and looking very sharp, as are his seven-piece backing band, including a drummer wearing tie and waistcoat throughout.

A 90 minute-plus set is ahead of us as he opens with Writing’s On The Wall. The excellent Strickland Banks album has amazingly spawned five - soon to be six - singles that, bar one, have all charted and all get an airing this evening.

Constant problems with his inner ear monitors have no apparent effect on Plan’s vocal delivery in an inspirational live show that far outstrips the impressive recorded versions.

Closing with the show stopping She Said, deafening applause earns a deserved encore of some great cover versions, including like Tears Of A Clown and Stand By Me, before finally bringing the curtain down with Stay Too Long.

Plan B has been quoted as saying he’ll release the hip hop finale album of the Strickland Banks story, called Ballad Of Belmarsh, later this year, so stay tuned for the next chapter.

Sean Bruce