Future Brings His Own Brand of March Madness to Houston

Note: No media photography was allowed during Sunday's show.
Note: No media photography was allowed during Sunday's show.
Photo courtesy of The Chamber Group

Future, Ty Dolla $ign, Trae Tha Truth
Revention Music Center
03/13/2016
Last summer, people asked if Future Hive was a thing.
As the Atlanta rapper’s catalog improved with each near-bimonthly release from October 2014 to March 2015, the supply and demand for more music came. Future, an introvert of the highest order, had become rap’s newest unlikely star, a radio and club giant who had birthed children (and knockoffs) all the same. His last foray into Houston occurred months ago at Arena Theater, one of the more vintage performance venues in town. When he stepped out for “Thought It Was a Drought" Sunday, the Revention Music Center exploded and went word for word with him, “I just fucked your bitch in some Gucci flip-flops!”

The demand for Future, namely on this particular Purple Reign tour, has been massive. As soon as the tour was announced last year, tickets sold out. Celebrities themselves had to go through will call in order to make it in. Around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, a full three hours before doors were set to open, a line stretched around the block and then some. To enjoy a Future show is akin to watching a choir director lead you down a slew of hymns about getting rich, taking drugs to numb the brightness of fame and ultimately being vain enough to barely care about all of it. In one era, Future would be a complicated rock star. In this one, he’s a rapper who uses most of his amplified, drum- and chaos-heavy music as a coping mechanism.

When he touched the stage around 9:30 p.m., the energy immediately went up inside the venue and varied throughout the night. Splitting up 29 tracks, including an intermission session from DJ Esco, Future moved and milled onstage with zero restrictions. Just as his music is set almost exclusively to be enjoyed in a club-like setting, Future and Esco chopped up tracks, performing single verses and sometimes full records, just to keep the crowd level and properly engaged throughout.

Despite having his vocal track underneath him for the duration, the rapper made Revention feel as if it were the most exclusive club night in the city. Every new song was met by a 15- to 30-second high before fans tried to pace themselves for more. All of his recent string of mixtapes and albums were touched, from the TRU flip “Freak Hoes” form DS2  to Honest holdover “Move That Dope” and even Pluto’s frantic “Same Damn Time." When “March Madness” rang out in full before the final quartet of Purple Reign tracks, the energy initially discovered with “Thought It Was a Drought” returned.

The greatest image of Sunday's set occurred during “Jerseys." Up on a set of LED boards that played various atmospherics, music videos and more were a set of jerseys: one each for Monster, Beast Mode, 56 Nights, DS 2 and What a Time To Be Alive, the five Future releases recorded and released from October 2014 to September 2015. To him and Future Hive, they’re trophies after losing his fiancée Ciara and becoming tabloid fodder over custody of their son, also named Future. When it came time for “Jumpman," the Drake-assisted collaboration from What a Time to Be Alive, he immediately cut the track before the line, “I know I’ma get my bitch back.”

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Before Future led Freebandz Baptist to church, the congregation enjoyed guest speaker Ty Dolla $ign’s mix of R. Kelly sexual colloquialisms and blunted West Coast hip-hop. To many, he’s a direct descendant of Nate Dogg, and from Beach House all the way to Free TC, the former Ty$ proved he had staying power, effectively lathering up the crowd. His opening notes gave way to surprise guest Trae Tha Truth, treating home and this particular stage like any other in the city. In a weird way, the two of them made perfect conduits into Future's energy.  [*A representative with Revention Music Center says Ty Dolla $ign did not perform. The Press regrets the error.] This was a crowd properly built for the club — short dresses, mid-to-high-priced streetwear and women twerking to a point where the edges of their dresses danced almost at the top of their tailbones. Before Future went to Limelight (and presumably V Live) to close out his night, those inside Revention almost caught an after-hours party for free.

Why else would James Harden randomly pop up onstage and DJ Esco reveal that someone had thrown wet panties onstage?

SET LIST
Seven Rings (DJ Esco)
Thought It Was a Drought
Move That Dope
Same Damn Time
Karate Chop
Monster
My Savages
Peacoat
Lay Up
Where Ya At
I Serve the Base
Blood On the Money
Stick Talk
Freak Hoe
Blow a Bag
Rotation
Slave Master

INTERMISSION
Groupies (DJ Esco)
Lil One (DJ Esco)
Big Rings (DJ Esco)
Antidote (Travis Scott/DJ Esco)
Drippin (How U Luv That)” (DJ Esco)
Down In the DM (Yo Gotti/DJ Esco)
Shit (DJ Esco)
Blasé (DJ Esco)

SET 2
Real Sisters
The Percocet & Stripper Joint
Trap Niggas
Fuck Up Some Commas
Diamonds Dancing
Jersey
I'm the Plug
Jumpman
March Madness
All Right
Wicked
Perkys Calling
Purple Reign

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