By Jett Wells
Kanye West's latest protégé, Mr. Hudson, showed off his chops last night at the Canal Room in New York for a promotional mini-concert. Having already conquered Europe, Mr. Hudson is starting to make a name for himself in this country, and last night was a good first step.
In a six-song set, Mr. Hudson carried himself with a confident swagger and stage presence to go along with his orchestra-sized supporting band. He didn't look like an artist piggy-backing on a hip-hop titan. Rather, he looked like a man taking over. He didn't do it alone, and his supporting cast was stellar, including a high-energy steel-pans player and backing vocalist. The band members were wearing white outfits and Mr. Hudson contrasted that with his black jeans, jacket and Billy Idol-esque blonde hair.
The show brought together catchy R&B and a little afro-pop, but the crowd didn't catch on fire until Mr. Hudson closed out with his new single "Supernova." He showed his Chris Martin-like pipes in the chorus, singing "And I feel like taking over/ Let me be your supernova/ Before you make the biggest mistake of your life/ Just give me a chance to make it right." The studio version of the song features a guest spot from Kanye West, but Mr. Hudson did it alone and didn't miss a beat.
In the middle of the set, he found himself in a confessional mood and admitted that he quit drinking only a week ago. He took the storytelling further by saying he was performing with a fever, though he said he wasn't looking for sympathy. All the while doing this, he kept referring to the crowd as America; as if he was trying to stress he was a foreigner looking in from the outside. The crowd stuck with him, though, and even offered him up some high-fives. Clearly, the border has been opened wide to him.