The last thing I was expecting to have a moan about this time yesterday was The Herald only giving me 280 words to write about last night’s Plan B show. Not my sort of music, I was thinking; I’m going to struggle to find things to say. But I came home with 500 words of scrappy notes, and most of them are about support act Labrinth.
I’d heard the name of course, knew of him as some sort of big-shot producer working with the ridiculously-named soundalike rap acts like Tinie Tempah whose names I confuse on SongPop. My gig buddy Michelle was keen to see him and openers Rudimental, which was the only reason I was even there so early. I didn’t expect to feel my face buzz by the end of the set, close to having been literally rocked off, by keyboard-based music; but the bass was so killer that if I hadn’t had my Lin-Ears with me I’d probably be dead right now.
From tremendous set opener “Last Time”, the artist known to his mother as Timothy Mackenzie showed that he could rock a crowd and fill a stage far more effectively than all seven members of Rudimental, on before him, could manage. I’m used to writing about how artists express themselves in their music through the use of louds and quiets – Labrinth instead uses moments of stillness to punctuate his songs and emphasise lyrical themes. Speaking of expressing oneself: I know the song makes use of riffs and samples from Charles Wright’s 1970 funk hit of the same name, but it’s the sheer urban poetry of Labrinth’s own lyrics I love. “Awkward when I speak” my arse, son.
Oh, and did I mention the man can shred? Because about five minutes after I scribbled some sarcastic line about his brilliantly white electric guitar being little more than a prop for the lyrics, he played a guitar solo so epic it was like a personal fuck you.
That widdly “Beneath Your Beautiful” Emile Sande-featuring ballad crap can fuck right off though.