Dante Higgins Warehouse Live March 6, 2012
In the grand scheme of things, any time an artist is holding an album-release concert you know the crowd will be eating out of the palm of his hand while dismissing the offers from everyone else. You know this, I know this. There's no way around it.
For a better analogy, say you're taking a date to Olive Garden and she orders pasta or linguini. She expects it to be everything and then some, but she winds up getting some watery sauce and spaghetti. She eats it, it is definitely filling, but on the inside she's yearning for something more. You have to play up the experience or risk looking like a sucker while the next guy she dates takes her to Red Lobster for the cheddar biscuits.
To cut it short, Dante Higgins was passing out cheddar biscuits last night while his fans understood and played their part. It's not a slight on the crowd or the performers but the cheers were the loudest when Higgins stepped onstage to premiere The Dante Higgins Story.
Clad in a winter coat (an allusion to the temperament of the crowd, perhaps) and tugging at the attention of the pro-Dante crowd like a yo-yo, Higgins slipped into "1986," the album's opening track with somber pianos and an already defining outlook. It's a tough record, an emotional reach for a man who recently told local mag HoustonTREND the story of how he felt his mother was his sister when he was younger.
Higgins left no stone unturned on this Tuesday night, sticking to his new material moreso than his already yearbook-quotable back catalog. When Big Pokey made his way onstage for "Showed Up & Po'ed Up," Higgins cracked a smile, generally enjoying himself as well as the atmosphere he created.
"Blow Up 2.0," the sequel to his Rhymes For Weeks opening freestyle felt stadium-worthy, with a crowd screaming, "We love you Dante!" and various shouts of approval. It even feels updated since it actually praises the Houston Texans secondary.
Travelling back earlier in the set, it's already a known fact that Carl Spivey, local promoter and Southside Living Legend, will pack a bill out until everyone's satisfied. By mixing in the youthfulness of Authentic Snoopy who ran through freestyles from his Early Arrival EP to the Baptist street-preacher menace of KAB Tha Don (with a KDOGG and Doughbeezy appearance (!) with upstarts Overtime, Spivey knew exactly what he was doing.
The crowd, made up mostly of Higgins supporters and Third Ward residents bucked and bounced in approval when Undergravity maintained their reputation as a living embodiment of mid-to-late-'90s Houston rap with "Space Jams."
Or have comedian Ken 2 The Fool playfully rip on almost everyone in attendance during the various intermissions. He said nothing about us on this night, although had we come in a suit and tie more than likely we would have felt the brunt of his jokes.
The night felt like a trip on the yard of Jack Yates High School, or a reunion rather. Love was shown for those who attended, faces of apathy or disapproval were flashed for othes and in the end, King Higgins stood on top.
Much like he probably did on the football field.
The Crowd: Hig Headz, multicolored and multi-faceted.
Random Notebook Dump No. 1: John Dew made it onstage after embarrassing Ken 2 on two separate occasions. The first resulted in Ken and the night's DJ Prolyfic hosting a twerk contest after discovering two women who couldn't help themselves dancing to 2 Chainz. We got flashbacks to last Thursday. Also, it ended in a near-tie. His set included "For The City" from Dew's TechNASA release. Propain was there, same for Jack Freeman and as was Yung Truth. Sadly, so were bad microphones.
Random Notebook Dump No. 2: Have you seen O.N.E recently? That guy could more than likely break down the Republican primaries while rocking a pair of Beats headphones and still seem cooler than you are. A redemptive, more personal outing from him last night instead of his 3,000 idea filled bars.
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"1986" w/ Stephanie Benison "The Messenger" "Formula" w/ Lee-Lonn "Not A Killer" "Keep It Real" "Blow Up 2.0" "Showed Up & Poe'd Up" w/ Big Pokey