Photo courtesy of Árpád Horvárth (www.arpadhorvath.com / www.glasgowstage.com)
With their recent announcement of playing SXSW next month, their fiery loyal fanbase, and the continuing acclaimed EP releases, one might have wondered why Hector Bizerk chose the 150-capacity Broadcast for their latest EP launch gig. However one track into their blistering set and it's abundantly clear. The sold out venue crackles with excitement, as hip-hop molds the packed crowd into one entity, upon which frontman Louie dives into just one song in.
Right from the first pounding beats of Audrey Tait's drums Hector Bizerk on Party At A&E , which results in the first chant of the night; "nobody seen nothing"; there's a party atmosphere about. Quickfire crowd favourites Burst Love; with it's shout along chorus; and Orchestrate; complete with ska-infused bassline; keep the energy going.
Time for the first new track and taste of the EP which tonight is launching. Rust Cohne doesn't disappoint as it showcases Louie respected lyrical talents pulling down the veil on dark inner city problems. Other new tracks showcased tonight include the dance-along Festival Boy, which expands the percussion to African tribal and reggae beats, and Skin and Bone, the opener and standout from The Bell That Never Rang. There's a menace and confidence in Louie's delivery, backed out by the rest of the band; Fraser Sneddon with a killer bassline, Audrey at home behind the drums, and David Calder with wild synths and additional percussion. Such confidence is borne out because this is amongst one of the finest tracks the band have produced.
Also included in that bracket are Bury The Hatchet, Colombus, and Fingerprints On The Drumkit, all of which get a vociferous reception, the former allowing Louie to spit at a ferocious speed as the crowd jump to the drum'n'bass sound.
As last EP The Bird That Never Flew explained the visual element of hip-hop is paramount to Hector Bizerk; and band artist Pearl Kinnear has spent the last 30 minutes on the stage turning the music into a piece of art, which gets centre stage towards the end of the night.
Sweaty, bruised, and by no means done the band erupt into the jazz drenched The Bigger Picture. As Louie shouts "it's nothing but hip-hop" with crazed elation he draws to an end the gig which by this stage has transcended. The evening has been a tribal gathering; a celebration for the Hector elders, and initiation for the new comers.
As Louie himself often says, genres are irrelevant in most cases. What is relevant is that Hector Bizerk are one of the best live bands currently plying their trade in Scotland. Soon they'll be back Stateside at SXSW and it's without doubt that along with Irn Bru and whisky, they are amongst Scotland's finest exports. Scotland is convinced. Time for the rest of the world to get on board too.
- Neil Wilson