Report: Rockfeedback @ iTunes Festival Night 7 - Mr Hudson feat. Kanye West & Kid British, 7/7/09

08 Jul 2009

night 7 of our iTunes festival coverage, and in the shape of mr hudson and kanye west, whimsical english pop has never collided so perfectly with l.a. - this morning the roundhouse bar staff will be busy putting the roof back on in time for kelly rowland and david guetta tonight.

 

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This year, Rockfeedback is delighted to be the official blog partner for the rather exciting iTunes Festival, taking place at London's Roundhouse every night in July. Over the course of the festival, we'll not be missing a night, delivering morning-after reports on everyone from Oasis and Bloc Party to Franz Ferdinand and Kasabian playing intimate sets to fans lucky enough to have won tickets to the shows. Within days, we'll also be bringing you exclusive live and interview footage with a selection of them too. With support from Kid British and help from a certain K. West, Mr Hudson raises the roof on night 7.

Mr Hudson

Manchester's Kid British give a spirited and well received ska/indie set, with the belligerent 'Part Time Job', dedicated to all those who hate work, admirably ignoring that most of the crowd haven't left school yet. James Mayer comes across as a young Holly Johnson, while one of his fellow vocalists as Jazzie B, which kind of sums up their vast musical influences. Amid plenty of "nice one"s, their set grows in depth, taking in single parents and getting lost in London, despite a lame version of Madness' 'Our House'. It's also a shame they close with the moronic 'Let's Have a Party'. They graciously admit excitement of having heard Mr Hudson sound-check and are gone.

It was only a fortnight ago that we reviewed the much revered and rightly loved Mr Hudson (now shorn of his 'Library') in Brighton, but tonight is a different affair altogether. It's not to sell Ben Hudson short, because he's bluntly one of this country's recent talents, but from Rockfeedback's own Basement Club, to a Brighton front room, to this is, is to witness one of those chameleon pop moments.

Tonight's worst kept secret, and there's no denying it, is half the crowd are here for Kanye West. Or rather to have been there for Kanye. It's a drawback that big stars attract people who want to say they were there, as opposed to actually be there. However, there are enough Hudson stalwarts, to relish his delicate flip of melody and confident winks. He mixes old with new; 'White Lines' is a bruising candidate for 2nd single from the forthcoming album, while another newie, 'Knew We Were Trouble' fades into acapella, which overcomes its public virginity with a crowd sing-along.

With the arrival of first guest, Kid Cudi, there is a surging frenzy to his 'Day and Night', and for a moment Mr Hudson joins vocalist and steel drummer Joy Joseph, with a look suggesting regret at introducing a funnier, better looking friend to your girlfriend. However, any struggle to follow Kid's crowd-pulling power are allayed by 'Up on the Heath's offbeat ska. Its chanting insistence, of 'no more rock and roll' finds new resonance with a new crowd.

'Ask the DJ' also rises to the challenge, gamely grinning at the occasional chants of Kanye. And so, finally he arrives, with the shimmering modern hip/hop of 'Heartless'. The autotune works majestically live and Kanye West's involvement makes complete sense, not just because he's signed Hudson to his US label, but his understands the necessity for sadness at the heart of good music, and while the nuance of '...how could you be so heartless', (essentially the blues), is lost on the jumping crowd, he knows what he's doing. The beats are blistering, as is the emotional honesty; not generally associated with Hip-hop.

The first overspill of their co-written material is 'Paranoid' following which, West touchingly preaches his belief in Mr Hudson, after hearing 'Cover Girl', which Ben sings alone with an acoustic guitar before the encore. And what an encore. Staggeringly, for an unreleased song, it's difficult to remember a better closer. Supernova is colossal. It's hard to imagine there'll be a bigger song this summer. By its end, exchanging scatting adlibs over the extended coda, Hudson looks like a man who's found the gold coin in the pudding, without breaking his tooth. He then gallantly takes Joy's place at the drums, to allow her to harmonise alongside West.

There are fears Hudson will become a puppet falling into the shadow of West's ego, but Ben has his own self-belief and is likely to remain his own man. Whimsical English pop has never collided so perfectly with LA, and this morning the underused Roundhouse bar staff will be busy putting the roof back on in time for Kelly Rowland and David Guetta tonight.

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