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As we arrived at Bristol’s Anson Rooms to see fast rising star Plan B, there was a real sense of anticipation in the air – maybe it was the first warm evening of the year, maybe it was the large crowd, maybe, just maybe, it was the long wait (about half an hour) between support acts and the main event. Whatever, it certainly added to the impact when beatbox supremo Faith SFX arrived on stage to take things up a notch with a frankly phenomenal 15 minutes of vocal chord madness! We’re talking much, much more than the usual vocal breakbeats favoured by the local rudeboys outside the Co-op, Faith SFX is a whole different ball game, performing live breaks and dubstep basslines with nothing more than his vocal chords….

At the end of his barely believable (it was that good!) warm-up, Faith SFX introduced the main act for the night, Plan B and his band. Having now successfully made the crossover from hip hop/urban sensation to new soul legend, Plan B’s new material has both attracted a whole new audience and it has to be said, alienated some of his old followers.
The sharp suited Plan B, kicks into his set oozing with confidence and flair as he works his way through a host of new material taken from latest album, The Defamation Of Strickland Banks featuring tracks that while soulful and sweet sounding, contain a lot more depth and story to the lyrics than the melodies at first reveal.

The band providing the solid backing for his performance are on top form, full of energy, perfectly complementing Plan B’s lyrics and stage presence but never upstaging him. Even a restarted song due to feedback problems (and the hilarious jibes from Plan B at the sound technicians!) wasn’t anything to detract from an energetic and confident performance.

An amazing encore performance including an insane beatbox/vocal duet with Faith SFX featuring both Kiss From A Rose and Forget About Dre sent the room mad for the final 20 minutes and certainly made for a highly memorable finale to the launch of what is bound to be a hugely successful tour. Those who mistakenly left before the encore could be seen looking rather disappointed as they heard what they’d missed!

Review by Andy Nelson