Saturday night, the eyes of the world were on Houston. The North American Finals of Red Bull's BC One B-Boy competition was taking place at Warehouse Live. As hundreds packed in to the venue, tens of thousands watched the livestream online.
Just south of the city, in a graffiti mecca known as The Kingspoint Mullet, iced-tea makers Lipton, in association with Vice Magazine, presented their widely popular Brisk Bodega party, hosted by local DJ collective Bombón and featuring performances by Fat Tony, Riff Raff, and the Trill OG himself, Bun B.
We at Rocks Off do our best to bring you premium coverage of the Houston music and party scene. The following is my personal timeline from a long, exciting, and tiring night in H-Town.
7 p.m. First assignment of the day was the preseason game between the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Houston is ready for the season, and both the team and fans were fine-tuning their game for the football year. My three favorite things about Texans games are as follows: people offering me food and beer as I work the tailgate lots; the Houston Texan Cheer Leaders; watching J.J. Watt's tunnel entrance.
9 p.m. Had to leave the game early in order to make it out to Warehouse Live in time for the Red Bull BC One event. There was also a Houston Dynamo game that night, which always makes parking a pain.
The energy of the crowd is stunning. There is a stage in the middle of the floor for the competitors, and the lighting and production is top-notch. Red Bull always delivers a quality environment.
10 p.m. The 16 competitors zoom quickly through the first elimination round, with only Jeremy of HaviKoro remaining of the three Texas B-boys. The second and third rounds also feature electric moves, leaving Brooklyn's B-Boy Gravity and B-Boy Ben from Las Vegas standing for the final battle.
Before the last face-off, legendary local crew HaviKoro turns in an emotional and passionate performance dedicated to the memory of the recently departed B-Boy Nat. But after a hard-fought battle, Gravity is crowned the winner and will continue to the world finals in Seoul, South Korea in November.
Here are a few of my favorite photos from the BC One event:
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11 p.m. We race over to the Brisk Bodega event being held near Almeda Mall. As we walk in, we hit a wall of humidity, the graffiti walls dark and the sound loud. Many gather outside to escape the heat, venturing in only to acquire another drink and watch the rappers perform. First up is a really sweaty Fat Tony, who is energetic and good-spirited, as always.
12 a.m. We follow Tony backstage and into the VIP area. Vice is conducting interviews with him, Bun B, and Riff Raff. The producers ask that any foul language be kept to an absolute minimum, eliciting laughs of disbelief from the rappers. They are positioned in front of an old Cadillac, with another car's headlights as a spotlight, and the moon shining above.
1 a.m. Riff Raff finally takes the stage and absolutely murders the stage. Say what you will about his talent as a rapper (or lack thereof), but dude is a spectacular performer.
"I'm not worried about tomorrow, or next week, or the future" he said in the earlier interview. "I'm a right-now type of guy. I'm gonna perform at my best, and ask you to vibe with me. That's it". The crowd certainly did vibe with him this night.
2 a.m. Bun B has been onstage for about 30 minutes, and no matter how many times I've seen him perform (at least a hundred times, I'm sure), each time is extraordinary. He ends the night with the classic "International Player's Anthem."
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4 a.m. After a quick stop for some tacos, the night ends at a house party in the Heights, the home of local musician Nosaprise (Happy Birthday, sir!). A friend mentions to me that this is the best party of the whole night, and I agree. No media pass, no lights, no cameras, no celebrities, no agenda. Just friends having fun, listening to music, drinking and dancing, up all night til the sun.
You can't get any luckier than this...
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