Last Night: Riff Raff at Fitzgerald's

Riff Raff, Fat Tony, D-Risha etc. Fitzgerald's March 21, 2013

Thursday night at Fitzgerald's was Riff Raff's homecoming show. Sort of. Sure, he's originally from Houston. The story goes that he got his start hawking his CDs at area malls. It's more accurate to say, though, that Riff Raff has no hometown. He simply sprang fully-grown from the imagination of Jody Christian, a local man who made the conscious decision to become a rapping cartoon character.

It's a strange crowd that shows up to see a viral YouTube video made flesh. The audience was made up almost exclusively of twentysomething white kids covered in a mish-mash of hip-hop and hipster gear, and there were enough of them to pack the old club's upstairs room to the rafters.

Not your typical rap crowd, exactly, but then typical rappers don't wear beards that look like they were drawn on by Dr. Seuss.

Nevertheless, everyone seemed to enjoy the undercard, which featured a nice slate of MCs and DJs whose local scene cred (and connection to reality) are unquestionable. Late in the evening, the mighty D-Risha and Fat Tony both turned in characteristically strong sets, and the night's partying seemed to be off to a good start.

As clock crept past midnight with no sign of Riff Raff, though, the crowd started to bristle. Call Jody Highroller a joke, if you must, but he was a joke that people wanted to hear. DJ iPod Ammo did his best to keep things bouncy while we waited, but after a good half-hour of watching a young dance crew bop around to the likes of Soulja Boy, some boos began to rain down.

Then some cups of ice. Then "fuck you" chants. Loud ones.

The dancers were hustled offstage, and the hosts did their best to keep the energy in the room positive, but the crowd had turned on them. For a minute there, it looked like things could get ugly. At the last possible moment, however, Jody Highroller appeared at last, taking the stage to the strains of Lil' Troy's "Wanna Be a Baller" all decked out in a retina-searing yellow Batman trucker cap with matching jersey. The party had officially started.

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Nathan Smith
Contact: Nathan Smith