Point Blank Numbers November 22, 2014
The weather was ugly in Houston on Saturday night, with rolling thunderstorms dumping buckets of rain on the city and keeping a lot of folks indoors for the evening. But if the South Park Coalition could be stopped by a little rain, they never would have made it nearly 30 years as the foundation of this city's underground rap scene. One of the SPC's own, Point Blank, was celebrating the release of a new double album on Saturday, and the show happened to be his official birthday party as well.
Accordingly, a nice crowd of friends, family and fans (the lines between them tend to blur with the SPC) turned up with umbrellas in tow to hang out, hear the new songs and maybe even bust a move or two.
The doors at Numbers, the tattered but beloved old dance club at Westheimer and Taft, opened at 9 p.m., but it would be nearly midnight before anybody grabbed a microphone. The crowd trickled in slowly, racking up bar tabs and bobbing their heads to the sounds of DJ Fire. By 11:45 p.m., folks were happy, loose and dancing, with Lil' Keke's "Southside" bringing 'em off their stools to enjoy some old-school, knock-kneed action on the club's patchwork dance floor.
Just before midnight, young buck Branzil took the stage. The godson of Public Enemy's Flava Flav, Branzil has talent, and the still-swelling assembly was glad to see the music start up for real. He delivered a short, energetic set that saw the creaky plywood of the Numbers stage bend and bow underneath his Adidas as he bounced to the beat. It was an excellent opening act that had the crowd eager for more.
There were plenty more underground artists to come, including J. Lopez, Slim Blacc and 44 Boiz, who put on the best show of the early going. Each offered up a few songs and a few shout-outs, keeping things bumping right along well past midnight. Between acts, comedienne Fiyah kept things loose with her offbeat charm, calling out audience members for their sartorial choices.
When SPC artist Mr. CAP arrived onstage sometime after 1 a.m., anticipation was running high. There could be no doubt that Point Blank would be up next. Sure enough, with a hearty call of "South siiiide," the Blanksta hit the stage hard, towel and cigarillo in hand. Dozens of cameraphones immediately went up to capture the occasion.
Story continues on the next page.
Point Blank came armed with several new tunes from No Money, No Reason, his latest independent effort, but naturally it was his old-school classics "My Mind Went Blank" and "High With the Blanksta," made indelible by DJ Screw, that had heads nodding the hardest.
While Blank was no doubt the man of the hour, there was no way that a charter SPC member was going to put on an important show like this one without the strong support of his clique. SPC types were on hand all night, from K-Rino and MC Wickett Crickett to PSK-13 and Cl'Che. All of them seemed to end up onstage at some point, to no one's surprise.
After nearly three decades of holding it down for one another, the familial bonds shared by the Coalition members were obvious. And Saturday really did feel like a family affair.
"Y'all know my wife don't come out to shows too often," said Point Blank with a big smile. "She in this bitch tonight."
Blank closed out his strong set with "Is This My Destiny," and by the time he finished up, the bar had closed. Still, various MCs declined to let the stage and microphone go to waste. Folks were still rapping up there when I hit the streets. It doesn't matter what time it is, and it doesn't matter what year it is: the South Park Coalition simply keeps going; keeps rhyming. And if you aren't around to hear it, well, that's on you.
Personal Bias: Fourth Ward!!
The Crowd: Dedicated.
Overheard In the Crowd: "South side!!"
Random Notebook Dump: One performer (I won't embarrass the poor guy) had to deal with his grill falling out of his mouth onstage and bouncing somewhere into the dark crevices of Numbers' makeshift VIP section. Had to feel for the young bro, who kept his performance strong, but it was pretty fucking funny, too.
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