When there's free beer, people will come. When that beer is Amstel Light, they'll come in droves and demand free screen-printed T-shirts with the beer's logo (courtesy of Ad Hoc Art). At least that's what happened Wednesday night (Aug. 26) at Manhattan's Webster Hall. Mr. Hudson and headliners the Bravery played big sets to a packed house full of jubilant, sweaty fans who double-fisted beers, lining them four, five, six in a row along the stage before leaving the plastic cups stacked high in the venue's dark corners.
All the free brew came courtesy of Amstel Light Amsterdam Live -- a SPIN-sponsored concert tour that's been crisscrossing the country this summer bringing live music and a taste of Amsterdam to the masses. Opening the festivities, London-native Mr. Hudson -- who collaborated with Kanye West on his upcoming record, Now I See (and who Kanye says "has the potential to be bigger than me") -- brought a polished mix of British soul, hip-hop, and Caribbean influences, particularly on the infectious, steel-drum inflected "One Specific Thing."
DJ Clinton Sparks took control between sets, keeping fans giddy and moving with a mix heavy on classic hip-hop.When Sparks told the crowd to "Throw your f***king hands in the air!," they dutifully threw their hands in the air. When he played a predictable, but pitch-perfect Michael Jackson montage, the crowd dutifully break-danced. And the Amsterdam Live crew got the whole thing on camera.
The Bravery introduced three new songs during their hour-long set, all taken from their upcoming record due in November. And except for one sung by bassist Mike Hindert, every tune featured the band's familiar propulsive rhythms and keening guitar lines, though with a darker, more sinister edge.
The boys spent the rest of the night burning through the classics: There was "Unconditional," pseudo dance-track "Public Service Announcement," and their anthemic hit "Believe," which lead singer Sam Endicott dedicated to a "bar in Brooklyn that I used to live at called Magnetic Field" (sorry kids, it closed last year). Tall, razor-thin and unshaven, Endicott looked like True Blood's Vampire Bill (which was appropriate given the debauched proceedings).
But when the band closed out the night with fan fave "An Honest Mistake," Endicott got his blood pumping, leading the audience as they sang along, a beer in each hand. Needless to say, the crowd left the dance floor a bit stickier than they found it.
The Bravery setlist at Amsterdam Live:
2. "No Brakes"
3. "Public Service Announcement"
5. (New Song)
6. "Red Hands and White Knuckles" (New)
7. (New Song)
8. "Swollen Summer"
9. "Time Won't Let Me Go"
11."An Honest Mistake"