A few weeks ago the Southern Lights Tour rolled through Houston for the fourth of its planned 17 stops. This was a bit of a return show for Dre Murray and a “home court” one for H-town residents/supporting artists Corey Paul and Reconcile.
On this night the crowd was ready and even larger in quantity than Dre Murray’s previous visit to celebrate the release of his Gold Rush: Maybe One Day album.
Both he and fellow We Live As Kings (WLAK) group member Alex Faith are still on the road, but now that some time has passed I thought I’d share three things that stuck with me after their bags were packed.
1. They Put the “Meat” in the Middle
At most rap concerts by Christians, the dudes who go on stage last are generally the ones assigned/assumed to deliver the night’s non-performance message. But here, the bulk of that responsibility seemed to fall into the domain of the Frontline Movement guys (Corey Paul & Reconcile) who went on after Vaughaligan Walwyn (fka Von Won) but before Alex and Dre.
I don’t know if that was by default, design, or deference to the guys who had many members of their local church in the audience. It doesn’t really matter and is not a complaint – just an observation.
It also seemed like the “meat” of the night’s entertainment side was offered in the middle of the entire event since several other advertised performers (including 007, Gifted da Flamethrowa, and Hillary Jane) took the stage after the main Southern Lights sets were complete. It gave off a bit of an “after party” vibe and provided a decent backdrop while fans perused the various merchandise tables and lined up to meet and greet Dre and Alex.
2. Dre Murray Perseveres
Dre’s voice was shot.
Even before the show started, he was backstage discussing “throat coat” and homemade healing remedies from artists like 007 (who knows about overexerted vocal chords due to rapid weather swings and back-to-back shows from his days as a touring member of Rap-A-Lot Records 5th Ward Boyz.)
But the dude sweated it out (literally) and continued to give H-town his best effort.
It wasn’t his greatest performance, but it was an admirable one.
3. They Make It Personal
Alex Faith and Dre Murray made it personal.
- They did it with music like Dre’s homages to Houston hip hop via “Welcome to H-town, the live “Fiend/Mind Playing Tricks On Me” mashup, and the “June 27” instrumental spun by DJ Overflow before he started “Gray Tape.”
- They did it by letting the locals shine. (See point #1 above.)
- And they did it by simply allowing time after their sets to hang out and really talk to people. Sure, there were autographs and selfies, but I also witnessed the fellas just kicking it in conversations with those who attended and wanted to share their stories with rappers whose music they enjoy.
And although it would have been understandable given their schedule and health, neither of the artists secluded themselves in the green room when they weren’t on stage. Instead, they opted to be out in the crowd showing support for the guys who were on the mic before them.
At the end of their set (and a worshipful rendition of “Arena”) Alex Faith sincerely thanked the crowd for their attendance and mentioned that the tour had already exceeded expectations. He said they originally planned to make Houston their final stop but still had several weeks ahead of them given the demand.
It’s likely the largest tour undertaking for both artists and something they’ll continue to perfect as they get more and more experience under their The Way Brand snapbacks.
It would be interesting to observe their April 26 stop at the Coffield Unit (a maximum security penitentiary) in Tennessee Colony, Texas and see how much they’ve improved their craft and/or adjusted it for such a unique setting.
It’s doubtful any of us will actually get to do that, but based on what I saw in Houston, I’m sure they’ll accomplish their mission just fine.
Visit Southernlightsconcerts.com for the rest of the tour dates and cities.