WORDS & PHOTO: Alex Caslano
“Watch ouuut for the Ryderrrz…yasss!” belts out the lad beside us. We’re barely 30 minutes into Hudson Mohawke’s blistering live show and already taps are aff and the young team are getting wild. And who can blame them? For much of the crowd Ross Birchard is more than a super-producer with production credits for Kanye West and Drake; he’s a local hero who has proved that anything is possible. Following the release of his triumphant sophomore album, ‘Lantern’, earlier this year, Hud Mo has literally been around the world, and tonight it’s the homecoming show everyone has been waiting for.
Hosted by Freaky Freaky, there's an almighty roar when he takes to the stage. Flanked by Redinho on keys and Ben Thomson on drums, we’re all set for sensory overload. A child’s voice whispers an eerie “Hudssson Mohhaawke” and we’re off, plunged into darkness as industrial noise builds the tension. Launching into the swirling synths and pummelling kicks of ‘System’, that tension is soon released as Glasgow loses its shit. Dropping into ‘Goooo’, one of the blistering trap anthems he produced with Lunice as TNGHT, it’s clear there’ll be little time to catch our breath.
Behind Hud Mo, panels of floating lights flash in time with the beat; occasionally tilting or at times completely rotating, they seduce and tantalize the crowd. Designed and operated by local lighting technician, Shaun Murphy, the production is simple but incredibly effective. When the ecstatic intro to ‘Ryderz’ filters through and the crowd sing along with a satisfying Glaswegian twang, it’s a hair standing on neck moment. The lights beam and when the beat drops, the energy is comparable to an atomic bomb.
Throughout the show we’re treated to a mix of album cuts and back-catalogue classics, with balls-out belters like ‘Chimes’ balanced with rollers such as ‘FUSE’ and ‘Scud Books’. The lights dance with the music, multi-coloured patterns spinning for the nod-along moments, while deep red permeates for those brooding, booming bangers. It’s theatrical, absorbing and at times, completely jaw-dropping. Hypnotised by the spectral sounds of ‘Acoustic Lady’, HudMo has got us in the palms of his hands…which he then goes on to clench and crush with the opening bars of ‘Higher Ground’.
With all the drama which has unfolded, we’d almost forgotten about this double-dunting fiend of a battle weapon; but when that crunching bassline rips through the speakers, it’s all over. Followed by ‘Thunder Bay’, it’s a scene of complete pandemonium as pints hurtle through the air and the aforementioned young team launch into the mosh-pit. When the dust eventually settles, Redinho and Thomson bow out, leaving Hud Mo to rifle through a surprise selection on the decks. Closing with the cinematic ‘Kettles’, Ross Birchard has taken it somewhere else tonight – wherever he goes next, we’ll definitely follow.