Geto Boys House of Blues July 4, 2013
Just a month ago, the Geto Boys were scheduled to perform at the fifth annual Free Press Summer Festival. Black-and-white billboards had been plastered all over town for months, depicting the Houston-based trio of misfits turned hip-hop icons. Underneath the three figures, a line from 2005's "G Code," one of their best-known hits: "We don't talk to police."
But the performance never happened, at least not entirely. Though Scarface and Willie D eventually made their way out onto the stage, Bushwick Bill never appeared. Before Thursday night's show, Pegstar's Jagi Katial attributed Bill's absence to "a transportation problem," but didn't expound further. [Ed. Note: From what we've heard, the notoriously unpredictable Bill was simply running late. That's it.]
So going into last night's show, I had a bad taste in my mouth. Despite growing up on the group's off-kilter, pre-horrorcore brand of rap music, I felt like I had been stood up on a first date, only to be told, "Sorry, but let's reschedule."
I must not have been the only one, because House of Blues' standing room was barely at half capacity, a terribly poor turnout for such an influential, homegrown rap group. Distinguished attendees were present though, notably Bun B and P-Funk's George Clinton.
Unfortunately, neither performed. They were both beckoned onto the stage, where the waved as the crowd cheered, only to walk back into the shadows moments later. To further the date analogy, it was like being shown an amazing dessert menu then leaving the restaurant without even getting a taste.
All told, however, Thursday night's show was a lot of fun. It was high energy, euphoric and all smiles. And though "G Code" didn't make the cut, the Geto Boys performed plenty of hits, including "Chuckie," "Mind of a Lunatic," "Size Ain't Shit," "Do It Like a G O," "Gangsta of Love," "Mind Playin Tricks" and, of course, "Still" and "Damn It Feels Good To Be a Gangsta," of Office Space acclaim.
And yes, all three Geto Boys were in the building this time.
Similar to last month's performance, Scarface was the first to come out from behind the curtains, followed promptly by Willie D. When Bushwick made his way out, wearing a Yoda backpack, it felt like it had all finally come together. This is what people came to see.
The trio held the stage for an hour, which is short for a typical rap concert but significantly longer than their semi-performance last month. Face was all business, his gruff vocal lines completely filling the venue.
Willie, meanwhile, popped his shoulders and bobbed his head while keeping the fans hyped. He also taught the men in the crowd how to pronounce "pussy" without offending their female counterparts. Bushwick, unpredictable as ever, switched between rapping, dancing, disappearing backstage, reappearing a few tracks later and dancing some more.
During "Gangsta of Love," which samples Steve Miller's "The Joker," Scarface picked up an acoustic guitar and began strumming along. The backing track faded, and the crowd sang along as he picked at the strings. From there, he went on to play Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," and the relatively few fans in attendance continued to chant in unison.
Houston, we really wish you had been there.
Personal Bias: I'll admit that my disappointment may have been self-fulfilling but, all things considered, I had a great time last night. And if the trio ever performs in town again, I'll be there.
Overheard In the Crowd: In line, a woman who didn't RSVP, pleading with the box office, "You're not going to let me in? It's my birthday!"
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Random Notebook: Before the show, I bought Bushwick Bill a drink at the bar. He drinks Macallan 12. #OG.