Saturday Night: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at House of Blues
When he was in grade school, Seattle-born rapper Ben "Macklemore" Haggerty thought he was gay. He was artistic, kept his room tidy, and his uncle was openly homosexual, so he did what any ten-year-old boy would do: He freaked out and ran crying to his mom, who made it all better.
He's not gay, mind you, but this is how listeners are launched into "Same Love," a piano-led ballad off his and producer Ryan Lewis' new album, The Heist. Macklemore goes on to say that the civil-rights movement supporting gay marriage is the same kind of fight that has led to walkouts and sit-ins in the past and that, until his uncles can legally marry, he won't stop supporting their cause.
Macklemore has a knack for discussing taboo subjects and adding his own personal touch.
Saturday night, a few hundred eager Houstonians crowded the stage and kept the floor shaking for his 90-minute set at the House of Blues' Bronze Peacock. Fans chanted choruses and kept the man of the hour smiling all night. Addressing the crowd, Macklemore said that although the Peacock was one of the smallest venues they had performed in on their current tour, it was also the loudest.
Macklemore offers a fresh perspective to a genre that has been growing stale. Instead of setting his sights on Cadillacs and gold chains (though both receive their due mentions) and demonstrating an "Imma'-do-me" attitude, he implores his fans to stay away from drugs, love one another, question the importance of their Nikes and, in true rapper form, "make the money, don't let the money make you."
On his first visit through Houston, Macklemore kept the energy at a high point from the moment he came onstage to the second he walked off, with a near-breathless recital of almost every song off The Heist, as well as a few hits that initially put him on the blogosphere's radar, notably "Otherside" and "And We Danced."
While "Otherside" may not be a direct reference to Houston, it surely resonates with quite a few locals. The song chronicles Macklemore's addiction to promenthazine cough syrup and begins with a news clip reporting beloved UGK rapper Pimp C's death five years ago, as the Red Hot Chili Peppers song of the same name plays in the background.