Lately, the music industry has been buzzing over Houston's crunkified rap community. But as far as our independent hip-hop community goes, Red Dot Didaktiks producer Dizrokwel thinks its players should take some notes from local guys like "Lil' Flip, Big Moe [and] all the Swisha House cats" and do more intimate local shows. So tonight at Helios, Rokwel and company are offering up some of indie hip-hop's most noteworthy acts. Red Dot Didaktiks -- who, as Rokwel says, put out a "psychedelic mess of samples, synths and beats" -- is composed of MC Perceph1 (of Dubtex), MC Evak (of Work) and DJ Giant (of the Truth). Keep an eye out for Perceph1, who raps with "the craftsmanship of old beat poets," says Rokwel, adding that the group churns out "intelligent hip-hop that could either make you think, or make you think you're having an acid flashback." Also on the lineup is West Coast transplant Babelfishh, a 200-wpm processor of rhymes and off-kilter beats. Then there's Dallas-based MC Astronautilus, who has been known to rattle off ten-minute, impromptu rhymes. Rokwel calls him the show's "icing on the cake."
"There's great music coming out of this city," says Rokwel, "so we're bringing it together for a city of music fans that I think are hungry for it." 9 p.m. Saturday, February 5. 411 Westheimer. For information, call 713-526-4648 or visit www.heliosrising.org. $5. - Travis Ritter
Leon's Lounge's Bombay Sapphire and Tonic
My five-alarm chili went over great at my weekend bash, but after eating the leftovers for three days straight, I had a bit of a digestion problem. I finally made it out of the house later in the week and ambled into Leon's Lounge (1006 McGowen, 713-659-3052) to celebrate. I settled on a cool, refreshing Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic that bartender Tony whipped up in a flash. Nothing much was happening, just a few regulars trying to decide what to play on the jukebox. I commented on the bar's vintage shuffleboard to a gal sitting next to me, who turned out to be the daughter of the original owner. Scarlett was full of stories"about the bar, her family and the fact that Leon's was the 1956 shuffleboard state champion. "Somewhere around here is the plaque," she said, "but I couldn't tell you where." She yelled to Tony to bring it to her, but he ignored her. Since I'd never been there before, she took me on a little tour of the place. As I was admiring the pool table, my indigestion came back like a tidal wave. I quickly paid my tab and left before I had another accident.
2 ounces Bombay Sapphire gin
1-1/4 ounces tonic water
Wedge of lime
Fill a glass with ice and measure out the gin. Top off with tonic water and garnish with lime wedge. -- J.W. Crooker
Rhyme and Punishment
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For any other battle, the ornate Magnolia Ballroom might seem an inappropriate space. But for the intellectual yet hip Last Poet Standing competition, it's perfect. Twenty poets -- entry is first-come, first-served -- will match up in a bracket-style tournament, and randomly chosen judges will name a winner based on delivery and content. The battle (not a slam, notes host-poet "Seven") will involve only words, but once it's over, DJ Energizer will spin hip-hop and R&B. And while the winner will snag a $1,000 cash prize, don't feel bad if you lose, because proceeds go to UNICEF for tsunami relief. 8 p.m. Saturday, February 5. 715 Franklin. For information, call 832-274-4018. $10 presale; $15 at the door. - Julia Ramey
Up in da Pub
You've made your reservations in Galveston and prepped for a long weekend of Mardi Gras debauchery. But if you find yourself jonesing for some midweek Gras action, head to Sherlock's or Baker St. Pub. The folks there are culminating their monthlong Pub Gras celebrations with Fat Tuesday parties around town. Stop by for brews and, of course, hurricanes. The attractive waitstaff will be strolling by tossing beads, candy and prizes at you from their festive shopping carts. We know: shopping carts? It should all make sense after a few hurricanes. 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday, February 8. For Sherlock's and Baker St. Pub locations, visit www.sherlockspub.com. Free. - Steven Devadanam