Don Toliver at Warehouse Live: Better Late Than Never

Don Toliver in his Bandit video
Don Toliver in his Bandit video Screenshot

Houston rap fans were given an exclusive listen and performance of Houston’s own, Don Toliver’s, fourth studio album prior to its release, though Thursday night’s schedule at Warehouse Live didn’t go quite as expected.

With doors opening at 7 p.m., I got there around 6:30 in plenty of time to explore the venue and to prepare for the show. I made my way to the pit around 8 p.m. as that was when the DJ performance was set to begin, only it didn’t, and never did.

Instead, fans and myself were presented with a clock about an hour later that began counting down from two hours and nine minutes. It began to sink in that this show was going to start much later than anticipated.

Some frustration and anxiety began to brew, with no DJ there to keep the crowd entertained and moving. Many were left confused and in denial that the timer on the screen was truly when Toliver would take the stage, but it was.

At 11 p.m, roughly four hours after doors opened, the Houston native took the stage. The sounds of motorcycle engines revving filled the venue and the floor began to vibrate, mosh pits began opening, and fans were off and raging to the album’s lead-off track, “Kryptonite.” Just like that all was forgiven.

The high energy continued into the albums second song, “TORE UP”, before winding down a bit with tracks three and four, “Brother Stone” and “Attitude”.

The relaxed tracks didn’t last long once the Albums lead single “Bandit” cued. The live guitar over played the sample of Tame Impala’s “One More Hour” sent fans into a frenzy the moment it began.

The rage of Bandit was again contrasted by the softer, but still bass-heavy tracks titled “Glock” and “Ice Age. ”The album’s eighth track titled “4X4” felt almost futuristic, as the vibe took a darker turn in tone. It featured psychedelic hums from Toliver that overlayed the beat of the track and felt very much influenced by his Jackboy counterpart, Travis Scott.

The track “Purple Rain” brought fans the latest in the Don Toliver, Future, and producer Metro Boomin’ saga since “Too Many Nights.” This featured a sci-fi beat from Metro and a mix of both singing and sharp bars from Future to pair in back-and-forth fashion with Toliver’s singing.

The night continued with the tracks “New Drop” and “Backstreets,” with Backstreets featuring the up-and-coming Beaumont rapper and producer, Teezo Touchdown.

The album's 12th track, titled “Deep in the Water” shed light into the intimacy Toliver shares with his American singer-songwriter girlfriend Kali Uchis, even referencing her pregnancy with their child in the chorus.

Following the more vulnerable track from Toliver was “Inside”, and Travis Scott made his way out onto the stage, surprising and energizing fans as he and Toliver performed together.

Scott’s appearance was brief, but he did not go without showing his support and making sure the fans showed love for Toliver. The demands for Scott to perform his hit song “Fein” echoed throughout the venue, but the listening party went on into it’s last leg.

“5 to 10” and “Last Laugh” brought the drums and bass back and the album was capped off with the synth-heavy final track titled “Hardstone National Anthem,” which left fans swaying back-and-forth with a hand up. The track felt like a departure, like the night was over now, but it wasn’t.

Toliver had so much more than I could have imagined left in the tank.

The classic track that put Toliver on the map, “Ice,” played and the fan favorite and before mentioned track “Too Many Nights” followed. Toliver then called back to the group album titled Jackboys, with both “Had Enough” and “What To Do” getting thrown into the mix.

Toliver slowed things down but continued this tirade of classics as he performed “Swangin’ on Westheimer”, from his 2021 LP titled Life of a Don. The night ended with encores of his crowd favorites from Hardstone Psycho. The walk-off track would be none other than his nostalgic hit 2020 rager, “After Party.”

At this point we had eclipsed well over an hour and 40 minutes, but fans still wanted more despite their exhausted appearance.

Fans were left with one final piece of excitement – what seemed to be a tour announcement that includes a Toyota Center show in the future. “I hope all of y’all pull up on me…at the Toyota Center!” Toliver exclaimed as he left the stage.
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