Hector Bizerk at The Art School, 14/10/16

It’s hard to put into words what Hector Bizerk have meant to Scottish music, let alone Scottish hip-hop, over the last few years, or at the very least not repeat the haze of kudos the band have been more than deservingly been crowned with.

Over the past five or so years the band has grown from a duo with a hell of a lot of passion and commitment to their craft and bags of talent to boot, to a behemoth of a collective that included not only the musicians themselves, but artists, dancers, film makers and more.

Hector Bizerk has become a full on experience without ever crossing the line to the cheesiness that some who may claim the same never have crossed the other side of, and it’s fitting that tracks from all four full-length releases get an airing in their very last show.

I arrive in time for the bands projected stage time to find them already a good portion through ‘Drums.Rap.Yes’, the opening track from their debut album of the same name, and from the very start the room is buzzing with Louie is bouncing around the stage like a man on a mission, bringing the crowd up from a willing crouch to a huge jump within minutes of the set opening.

Tonight, like many nights before it, Hector Bizerk have their crowd in the palm of their hand and by the time the break neck pace of ‘Bury The Hatchet’ kicks in it’s hard not to be engulfed in the occasion of it all.

There’s a power to the band’s set that allows them dub up the iconic bassline of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’ without ever touching on cringe worthy and as Louie whips up the crowd with “are you ready to take the roof off this gaff Glasgow?” there’s no doubt that everyone in this room is.

The set tonight is split in two, with the opening exchanges seeing tracks from the first two albums, Drums.Rap.Yes. and Nobody Seen Nothing, getting airings in the opening portion and it’s testament to the quality of all of Hector Bizerk’s back catalogue that, although there’s no doubt the band progressed with later releases, these songs stand alone for their quality with tracks like ‘Party At A&E’ and ‘Welcome To Nowhere’ sounding as fresh as they did years ago.

Tonight is a true celebration of what Hector Bizerk and has been to so many people and as ‘Columbus’ closes the first portion of the set in spectacular fashion, keeping the crowd moving with its ska tinged grooves and Louie’s ever impressive machine gun delivery, you feel like you’ve already witnessed something worthy of the entrance fee alone.

The gob smacking intricacy of tracks from soundtrack The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry kick off the second session and act as a relative calm before material from The Second City of the Empire has the floor is physically bouncing underneath your feet as ‘Skin and Bone’ sets the crowd loose once more.

“Glasgow, fuckin’ love you mate” quips Louie before ‘Everybody Laughed’ creates the biggest sing-along of the night and ‘Rust Cohle’ sends the room to higher levels of mental than seen before.

Calling it quits when you’re on a high may seem silly, but for these guys it seems like the right time, and there’s no doubt each member won’t be in high demand whatever their next project will be.

There’s no doubt that Scottish music and certainly Scotish hip hop is in a healthier place than it was when Louie and Audrey took it upon themselves to put some rhymes over drums, but whether someone steps up with the same quality and undeniable work ethic to fill the void they will no doubt leave, it remains to be seen.

As they end it forever on a deserved bow after closing the door forever with ‘The Bigger Picture’ it’s fitting that the last line Hector Bizerk will ever perform is “it’s nothing but hip hop”, but in reality it’s so much more.

Hector Bizerk it’s been a pleasure to have you.

The Second City of the Empire by Hector Bizerk
Words: Iain Dawson

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