Roologic Records Launch Party
March 10, 2016
Roologic Records is all about the local love. The label, founded by longtime Houston DJ and promoter Ruben Jimenez, is really more of a mission statement: bring talented local artists together in a single, irresistible package and promote a legitimately sizzling draw. That was certainly the theme of Roologic’s launch party last night, anyway. Featuring short sets by the label’s entire cast of characters, it was a hell of a first brand-building exercise.
The first hundred people or so through the door at the Bronze Peacock on Thursday were handed a tote bag filled with promotional goodies, from vinyl and CDs to stickers, business cards and even temporary tattoos. Two large TVs flanking the stage served only to display the same clean, Carolina-blue Roologic logo that adorned most of the T-shirts. There was no chance of getting in the place, let alone out of it, without having the label’s name seared into your memory.
That might have been a little annoying if all of the artists hadn’t been so freakin’ great. Jimenez showed off some tight mixing and cutting skills on the turntables first while the crowd filed in. Gabe Bravo stopped by to crack a few jokes (mostly about the audience’s indifference to his jokes) and introduce Dirty & Nasty, the veteran rap duo from opposite sides of the city. “The Only MCs That Matter” spat out a dope set of rhymes, smiling and dancing and generally pumping the crowd up. “Down by Law,” the closed-fist single from their Sons of the Queen EP, was the obvious highlight of the early going.
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A terrific string of performers followed. Raymond A. came out to perform his new single “Action” with Chelsea Mariah, the woman who curated the visual-arts portion of the show. Kyle Hubbard came through with a reliably strong set from Majestic Hotel, highlighted as usual by an assist from Chase Hamblin on the standout song “Not Without a Scar.” Mo City native Brew exhibited some impressive lung power on a few headbangers, and the lovely Genesis Blu snapped off a sweet freestyle about how “your boyfriend is bitter ’cause [she] outrapped his ass.”
Seasoned performers all, each MC radiated confidence and energy onstage. Jimenez has been careful to craft a roster of rappers who need only two turntables and a microphone to be good to go. There was no rapping over CD tracks or shouting into the mike. This was real, live hip-hop from Houston, Texas. And the more people heard (and the more promotional drink specials they sipped), the more they liked it.
The folks onstage appreciated every ounce of love that they were able to wring out of the party-goers.
“These are all local artists from this city,” Brew told the audience. “And all y’all came out to support. That’s a beautiful thing.”
For the last two acts of the night, a few amplifiers would be needed. First up was the hip-hop band Def Perception, who appear to be going by the name DEF. now. With slick grooves like theirs, they can call themselves anything they want. Front man Raymond A. kept his flow tight and supple, keyboardist Eddie Pickles made with the fresh tickling, and DJ BabyRoo (Jimenez) busted out some tasty scratching, but drummer Dominick Oscar was the heart and funky soul of the performance. That hi-hat was on point.
Def Perception was the full-spectrum hip-hop highlight of the night, but Space Villains* swooped in from another planet entirely. The trio was introduced to the stage by a parade of booming confetti guns, and once they got there, they did their damnedest to jam themselves right back into outer space. Crazed, psychedelic rock poured out of their speaker cabinets, tinged slightly with elements of funk and disco. A gentle drum groove ramped into an ecstatic, unexpected mosh pit that sent people flying during one tune, right after a tall, dark beauty wearing zero tops sprinkled me with sparkling confetti. It was outrageous in all the best ways.
Space Villains* closed the night’s live performances out with an amazing psych jam; I think it was called “Space Train.” But even after the final blast of confetti, most folks were in no rush to get home, even on a weeknight. They stuck around to chat excitedly about what they’d heard, check out the paintings for sale and do a little professional networking. And why wouldn't they? Local music, art and networking are Roologic’s raison d’être. And I’m already looking forward to the next mixer.
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Personal Bias: H-town booster.
The Crowd: Happy and talkative.
Overheard in the Crowd: “Damn, this is like a Hendrix show!”
Random Notebook Dump: The Bronze Peacock at House of Blues is maybe the best place in town for this kind of celebratory show. It’s small without being a blackened little dump.