Pop & Hiss

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Mr. Hudson is a virtuoso tea drinker

July 14, 2009 |  7:20 pm

Hudson150 I'd be remiss to let the day go by without acknowledging that Mr. Hudson, the platinum-tressed soul singer wingman of Kanye West, is an absolute trouper of a performer. At his Troubadour showcase last night, the British vocalist admitted during the brief show to practically coughing up a lung and feeling like death incarnate from an illness.

But he nonetheless managed to pull a winning array of au courant influences into a very zeitgeisty package -- a bit of humid dub reggae augmented by a steel drummer, some sassy electro-pop, danceteria funk and what I swear was a bluegrass banjo sample in one song.

Throughout the set he nursed a piping cup of tea, which I really and truly hope becomes the new onstage beverage of choice for singers.

His turns in the awesome West cut "Paranoid" and on his own "Supernova" are apt signs of what he's up to -- Anglicizing today's bespoke, electrified modern R&B set. Can we get an Estelle duet someday soon, please?

-- August Brown

Photo by Matt Hartman