Saturday Night: Kendrick Lamar at House of Blues

Categories: Aftermath

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Lamar's set nearly mimicked his earlier performance at Warehouse, yet felt almost like its own standalone story. He warned us that we might be fighting once "m.A.A.d City" dropped, and urged the house lights be brought up so we could all see each other.

However, the antsy jumped the damn gun and two women spilled out into a fight during a slight mosh of "Money Trees." How you fight to Lamar's most laid-back track not named "Poetic Justice" is beyond me, but that's a crowd for you.

After watching him cut through Overly Dedicated at a 2011 SXSW showcase, it was clear to these eyes that the beast had sharpened his skill even further. Displaying effortless double-time breath control, keeping in constant fan contact, Lamar has stepped up his performance game and Saturday invited us all into his city with open arms.

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His city is a place where "Poetic Justice" got the one-hook/one-verse pop treatment, "The Recipe" swallowed up Dr. Dre's verse and made it wholly K Dot's song, as it was intended, and "Swimming Pools" intoxicated us all. He bended a bit from OD's "Cut You Off" around to "Tammy's Song," "Hol' Up" and "Blow My High" from Section.80.

He even questioned whether or not the crowd actually liked good kid, m.A.A.d city, to which everyone replied with squealed horror because they ate those tracks up like they had studied them from front to back. You could be irked you didn't get "HiiiPoWeR," Lamar's 2011 breakthrough single from Section.80, but "A.D.H.D" was a furious snap at your throat, so enjoy it.

That's Kendrick in 2012, a man who got the creative freedom to drop rap's most ambitious major-label LP and succeeded. His quirkiness even made it to the finale, where he once more performed "Cartoons & Cereal" as he did at Warehouse. That song has never made an album, yet might be the best song of the year.

Quite mad indeed.

Personal Bias: Nobody right now is beating Kendrick in a rap contest. Key phrase: Right now.

The Crowd: Mixed, large and loud. Throwed gang signs and hoped they all offended you, ya bish.

Overheard In the Crowd: "She got big titties!" Apparently, that's code for "I'm safe" whenever a potential fight may break out near you.

Random Notebook Dump: No rap show is complete without the friend-carrying-another-friend-out quota being met. We hit four Saturday, a non-festival record.

Location Info

House of Blues

1204 Caroline, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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