Birdmagic & Perseph One Bring Beats and Love to Rudyard's

Birdmagic, Perseph One, Pitter Patter Rudyard's April 16, 2015

At night's end, Birdmagic looked like someone who had dominated an opponent after a 12-round fight. Predator, not prey, he stalked Rudyard's stage, eagerly pacing between soiled and pulsing snares. His shirt soaked with the labor of his effort, Birdmagic insisted that every person be in the moment filled with ecstatic joy. Thursday night, those who braved the deluge and participated in the 21st-century Dionysian festival left gratified.

Jonathan Perez, a.k.a. Pitter Patter, initiated the evening's events with his dynamic one-man show. Before Pitter Patter finished introducing himself to the crowd, he grabbed his drumsticks, clicked on his laptop, and performed angular rhythms over a collection of acoustic and electronic sounds. More psychedelic than experimental, the accompanying synths buttressed his primal pounding.

Leaving no space unfilled, Pitter Patter toyed with an assortment of time signatures, expanding the audience's musical palette beyond symmetrical 4/4 rhythms; his deep appreciation for Rush showed in both his playing and his MIDI sounds. The drummer-as-DJ style has already been taken to adventurous lengths by LIMB; however, Pitter Patter expanded the terrain and firmly planted his flag in his own manner.

Both a show-stopper and show-stealer, Perseph One heightened the energy under the club's leaky roof. Comfortably clad in cutoff shorts, fishnets and a T-shirt, she implored the crowd to come closer, establishing a tightly coiled connection between audience and performer. Accompanied by the talented artist/DJ Josiah Gabriel, Perseph One flowed at a variety of speeds, her words filled with wit and candor.

Her cadences possessed flourishes of dub and reggae, riddled with introspective moments. For instance, "Rainbows All Over Me" contained the emotionally tattered lines "Get to know your codependency of darkness / Spilling on the carpet / Exorcising demons and Martians / Trying to mesmerize universally / Tell no lies, but the time is mine" that reach to the core of an artist trying to break free of hip-hop's emphasis on meaningless materialism.

Her method of flowing is more transcendental, focused on the now and away from the terror-laden future, and mastering the microphone is nothing new. Yet her growing gift is to eliminate the stage as a barrier. She wove herself into the crowd, dancing with an audience already enthralled by her stage presence, spitting fierce rhymes while uniting some of the Rudyard's faithful in the bliss of her lyrical magic.

The crowd fell into her call-and-response charm, and Perseph One asked for energy from her audience, and they reciprocated. Breathless at the end of a banging 808-laced track, she thanked the crowd for showing her well-deserved love and respect. By the time Birdmagic snatched the mike and the stage, the crowd appeared fatigued. But this Houston transplant via New Orleans was not about to let anyone left in Rudyard's off the hook.

His DJ set contained the classics plus the soon-to-be classics, anything from Major Lazer's "Bubble Butt" anthem to TLC's "No Scrubs." The audience moved to every gem he threw at them, but the place jumped off when he dedicated a Waka Flocka Flame track to someone from his squad.

Birdmagic soared into the crowd and, like Perseph One, connected with the audience, dancing with damn near everyone. Between songs, he joked with the audience, but once a song started, he anxiously paced behind his gear, his shoulders slumped and fists clenched.

Feeling the warm vibe from those who stayed into the night's wee hours, he threatened the last song at least three times. No one wanted him to stop, not even when he finished his set and bid the spectators good night.

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Stephan Wyatt