Review: Planes @ The Deaf Institute 09.03.13

© Planes

© Planes

When drummers in successful bands take a sabbatical to form their own group, they can often seem lost away from their stools, unsuited to handling a guitar and holding the crowd in the palm of their hands. Fortunately, Planes are different. For starters, Placebo’s current stickman Steve Forrest isn’t taking a break from his drumming duties: he’s currently juggling the recording of their forthcoming seventh studio album with the crafting of Planes’ full length debut, along with this mini tour of the UK.

What’s more, whilst Planes initial buzz came with the welcomed baggage of Forrest’s more celebrated role – their debut live show was supporting Placebo in front of 60,000 fans – they each act and sound nothing like the other. The increasingly extravagant, arena-dwelling alternate rock legends are now enhanced to a six-piece live in order to accommodate the transition of their string-laden soundscape from studio to stage. Yet as grandiose as Placebo become with each passing tour, even their most diehard followers would have to admit that the laid back Planes are just so much more fun.

Forrest and his cohorts: guitarist Ted Brunning, bassist Dan Sayer, keyboard player and violinist Char O’Lette and drummer Eddie Harris; are note perfect during their ten song set at Manchester’s most intimate music venue, The Deaf Institute. Snake-hipped Steve hops and skips about the small stage whenever a particular groove takes control, and laughs and jokes with the assembled crowd. It’s clear he takes a lot of pleasure from the performance, but that pleasure is never derived from an egotistical desire to be up front and the centre of attention – instead, he is just having a whale of a time, jamming with his friends.

© Paul Holmes

© Paul Holmes

Those jams are mostly taken from the band’s forthcoming debut album – a world away from the relaxed sway of their self-titled EP release of last year. Only one song from the latter, ‘Grinding Teeth’, gets an airing tonight, with the rest of the set bravely featuring songs the majority of the crowd are unfamiliar with, yet still greet with a thunderous reception. The new material is a powerful blend of alt-rock stomp, classic rock grooves and country style, moonshine twang. It’s almost as if Kasabian were infiltrated by Hank Williams III, and they all decided they wanted to sound like 70s rock gods instead.

Highlights included forthcoming single ‘Set It On’ and the glorious ‘Holes In My Shoes’, which instantly felt like the best song you’ll hear all year. Performed by a mainstream act, these songs would be all over every radio station already, and whilst the band leave without an encore, their willingness to be out front before their set to see indie-dance pop support band Silverclub, and afterwards to talk to fans and admirers should be applauded. And besides, their short and sweet set left their audience wanting more, and perhaps that’s exactly how they want us…



Colour Green
Summer Breeze
It’s Too Late
Set It On
Grinding Teeth
Wait It Out


About Paul Holmes

Editor of The Velvet Onion since 2010, I also work in arts marketing and digital content producing, writer for a few things, listen to a lot of vinyl and watch lots and lots of Doctor Who.

Posted on March 16, 2013, in Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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