You probably can’t distinguish what this picture is right off the bat, as it was taken a fair distance from the stage. BUT, nontheless… my best friend Greg and I decided to take an ill-advised trip to New Braunfels on Thursday to see Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar on Thursday. And great times ensued.
Back in Houston, you don’t really get to see venues like the WhiteWater Amphitheater (where Kendrick’s show was held). In Downtown Houston, artists’ shows are held in tiny club-like venues like the Bayou Music Center in the theater district or the House of Blues in the GreenStreet Commercial Center. These venues more closely resemble bars than actual music venues due to their smaller sizes. This does however provide for a much more intimate showing by each artist. In fact, in the greater Houston area, the only mammoth, outdoor venue I’ve even heard of would be the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, a monster of a venue with a capacity of nearly 17,000 heads. Only the biggest touring artists play this venue and tickets do not go cheap. WhiteWater felt like the brainchild of each of these venue types.
The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on a packed evening.
So Greg and I are prettyyyy broke. Both of us. But we both do quite a bit of “dabbling” in good music, whether popular or not. We see a ton of shows on our spare time, call it a hobby, and each knew this show was coming but individually kept silent due to a mutual lack of funds. But truth be told, we both happened to have one of those “found 20 dollars in my pocket” type of days and we’re the live for the moment type. So when I get the call, immediately I know what it’s going to be about… the show was going to start in about an hour, it had been on my mind all day, and this is one of Greg’s favorite artists — what else could this random phone call be about? I answer with a “Yes, I’m down to go,” then listen to Greg bumble over the pros (fun, mostly) and cons (funds, mostly) to himself for 20 minutes. After talking to himself about for so long, it pretty much became yes when I, through manipulation, convinced him it was only going to be more expensive next time and that if we skipped out, we’d never get to go. Bingo. I picked Greg up about 30 minutes later and we took towards New Braunfels for some rap music on the river.
I’ve never gotten to a music venue from a dirt road before, so right off the bat this trip felt a little surreal. The drive was about 30 minutes, and only10 were on I-35. Shortly after getting into New Braunfels area, my navigation took me onto a side road and the rest of the way felt like farm country. Then our of nowhere a crowd appeared, so I parked assuming a concert was the only possible explanation for a crowd. The walk was a mile from my vehicle, giving us a little time to converse with our fellow concert-goers. The most notable were two twenty-something females Greg had struck up a chat with, who were far too intoxicated to be in public. It was less a conversation, but more Greg preventing them from getting hit by cars on the way to the venue. He’s a sucker for pretty and dealt with their shenanigans regardless, but never really got a cohesive sentence from either. Upon their departure they thanked Greg for his help, but had to excuse themselves to attempt to “flirt their way” backstage. Charming.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the place we arrived at wasn’t it. It looked like a huge paintball field… just a stage, an enormous, wide open field, a clubhouse that served drinks and a few collections of port-o-potties here and there. And it was slammed packed from fence to fence. It looked like a free-for-all. I know Greg and I are unlikely hip-hop advocates, but I never imagined so many people like me near NEW BRAUNFELS, TEXAS would be at a Compton, California music series. I mean, sure, I’M pretty open-minded with rap music… I’m from Houston, c’mon. But this music was mucho on the ghetto. I have a plethora of postable videos, but I seriously find them a bit too vulgar to blog with. It was intense. The place was shoulder to shoulder for literally three hours, incredibly hot, and the most surprising is… every person in attendance new EVERY SINGLE SONG. I think Kendrick himself was shocked that so many people in a seemingly random Texas town knew all of his music. So he loved it, the crowd loved it, and of course Greg and I got down. You could call it successful and most certainly memorable. Even though I definitely won’t be able to afford it next time, I’m sure I’ll wing it and see the next one too. After I convince Greg.
A packed house lovin’ it! Felt like Compton in Texas.