Fat Tony, Kyle Hubbard
October 16, 2015
I don’t mind admitting that I walked straight past the Safehouse on Friday night. I’d never been to the strange little venue before, and wasn’t quite sure where it was or what to expect. The place barely seems to exist online, and there was no helpful sign or marquee out front to look for. That’s how I ended up creeping through EaDo’s eerily silent warehouse district in the dark, listening intently for the tell-tale sounds of deep hip-hop bass.
Somewhere out there was Fat Tony, the prominent local DJ and MC who is one of the city’s most dynamic live performers. He recently put out a song with Asher Roth that’s called “Sushi” about sushi, and I was hoping to hear it. Kyle Hubbard, who’s another top local talent on the mike and a cool dude to boot, would be there too. Assuming the crowd was as hip as a halfway-secret warehouse show implied it would be, the odds of achieving dope tunes and cool vibes seemed highly favorable.
Finally, I came upon a group of young people chatting outside another darkened, nondescript warehouse building on Saint Charles Street. This was the place. As I was ushered inside, I was surprised to find a tastefully appointed studio apartment beyond the door, with a bed and other furniture mostly shoved out of the way. It was cute and cozy in there, decorated with a few old skate decks. Through another door rumbled the unmistakable sounds of live music, so I opened it.
I stumbled into the coolest little warehouse space you’ve ever seen, lit dimly by strings of bulbs and a few funky fixtures. In the middle of the place was a small stage constructed of stacked palettes. That’s where Fat Tony was spinning records.
While Mr. Obi tore through a long set behind the Macbook, mixing snatches of Marvin Gaye with Smashing Pumpkins and the like, I wandered around a bit. Clearly, somebody lived in this place. There was no bar, just a free keg from 8th Wonder brewery and some noxious potion they were calling purple punch. The domesticity of the front room and the informal nature of the performances couldn’t help but give the night a strong house-party vibe, with attendees easily striking up conversations with strangers.
And hell, the soundtrack was dope. Around 11 p.m., DJ BabyRoo began setting up to take over for Fat Tony behind the controllers. Kyle Hubbard’s new EP, Majestic Hotel, is the first release on BabyRoo’s new Roologic label, so it was only fitting that he’d have his artist’s back. Kyle was greeted by a nice crowd of what looked like at least 100 people back there and opened with his spaciest new tune, “Not Without a Scar.” Local roustabout Chase Hamblin, psych-popper supreme, was on hand to sing the hook, and it sounded real good. It was little tough to see them up there, though, as the guy in charge of lighting had apparently bailed hard in classic DIY fashion.
Hubbard had a couple more pals come up to help him out with his new material, including Roosh Williams and Def Perception’s Raymond A., and BabyRoo delivered on some very nice scratching. Everyone was well-pleased with the set — performers and audience alike — and found themselves primed for Fat Tony up next.
With his partner iLL FADED commandeering the decks, Large Anthony delivered a tight and sweaty set up there in the darkness. It was past midnight by the time he began, and the crowd seemed to be feeling that punch — grooving gently and happily as Fat Tony dropped the hard-hitting lyrical science on ‘em. It was a real pleasant vibe in the place. Maybe a little too pleasant for Fat Tony.
“Y’all look smoked out, no doubt,” he told us. “I’ma put on a Cypress Hill CD, I swear!”
He didn’t do that, mercifully. He did bring up a gentleman whom I think was named Flyger Woods for some cool, high-energy back-and-forth bars, and iLL FADED took the mike, too, for a fun verse about meeting an attractive lady in Montrose. The whole set was capped off with a bonkers version of “You Ain’t Fat” that was drowned in reverb, the beat seeming to dive deep underwater. I think Fat Tony has performed that song every time I’ve seen him, but I’d never heard it like that before.
As iLL FADED started up a new mix with some Juicy J song or another, folks milled around a bit and chatted. A dude named Alex from Oklahoma came up and explained that he’d just moved to town and was looking for some cool live music. I thought he was doing pretty damn well for himself already, making it out to a weird little warehouse/house show in the middle of some industrial nowhere. As a concert, it was a little loose, I guess, and the lighting sure sucked. But as a party, it was pretty goddamned cool. Just watch out for that punch.
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Personal Bias: Poor navigation skills.
The Crowd: Young and hip and diverse.
Overheard in the Crowd: “We were just admiring your boobs from over here.”
Random Notebook Dump: I don’t think I could let that many strangers file through my bedroom to get into a rap show. Whoever runs the Safehouse is a lot more trusting than me.