Boiler Room Houston
April 12, 2017
The year was 1987. In the film Over the Top, Sylvester Stallone played a truck driver named Lincoln Hawk who takes his son out of a military academy and then travels to an arm wrestling championship in Las Vegas. He eventually makes it to the finals against a gargantuan specimen of a man named "Bull" Hurley. At the point where Lincoln is about to lose the match, he initiates his signature move to beat his competition.
The scene Wednesday night at Boiler Room Houston felt a lot like that movie. At one point, while performing "Get Throwed," Bun B turned his baseball cap backwards and proceeded to "Lincoln Hawk" the hell out of that room. Everyone was gathered around a solitary table in the middle of the venue (much as in an arm-wrestling match), while the best of the best took center stage. It was glorious. Bun then pulled his signature move by unzipping his jacket to reveal the message "Fuck the President Supreme" for the whole world to see. It was most definitely "Over The Top" and absolutely amazing.
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Boiler Room is billed as a "global online music broadcasting platform commissioning and streaming live music sessions around the world." Wednesday marked the third such event for Houston; the last one came the weekend before Day For Night late last year. Normally, Boiler Room leans toward the electronic and underground spectrum of music, but the sessions have since grown to include other genres such as hip-hop.
That spirit of introducing and elevating new artists was on display with the opening act, local Houston DJ Angiesliste. She embodies the qualities that Boiler Room's audience craves: youthful energy, supreme ability to mix classics with new-school tracks, and the fortitude to work well under pressure and the spotlight. Although her set was the only one that wasn't live-streamed, she won over the crowd with smooth blends and smart selections, keeping things both chill and energetic throughout her set. We look forward to catching her again soon around town with DJ collective Les Femmes.
I'm the first to admit that the notion of sitting through another "Welcome to Houston" set is not the ideal situation. Houston fans are spoiled by both growing up with this music and seeing the same OG H-Town rappers perform countless times over the years. But the energy in that warehouse was indeed something magical. Most of us can tell when an artist is just there to perform out of necessity, but every DJ and rapper who hit the Boiler Room stage was excited and feeling every minute of the show.
Perhaps it was the intimate surroundings, or the fact that their set was beamed across the globe on both Boiler Room's website and its Facebook page. Either way, hearing Paul Wall begin his set with "Drive Slow," Mike Jones offer up "Still Tippin" with Slim Thug, and Bun B close things out with "International Player's Anthem" was all a beautiful dream. Michael "5000" Watts, OG Ron C and The Chopstars provided a mix of country rap tunes and H-Town classics to expertly fill in the space in between acts.
Let's just pray that this event sets Houston up for the next time Boiler Room visits us, which we hope will include a more innovative lineup of emerging artists. This city is ripe with options who would be ready for this spotlight. Artists like Santa Muerte, DJ Hiram, DJ Shanté (who did a wonderful job hosting last night) and DJ Charlee Brown, just to name a few.
Stay trill, Houston. The world is watching.
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Note: This article has been modified after publication to correct the event's location to the Preston Theater.