Beto O’Rourke | Photo by Taylor Marron
Crowded with old and new registered voters alike for the Beto O’Rourke voter registration rally, the White Oak Music Hall lawn was about to have an indescribable energy fill the air. By the end of the rally the air was electric. Hundreds attended the rally to not only see the Democratic candidate grace the stage but also to see the many performances by local artists. Texas natives like UGK member Bun B, Bombón, Shakey Graves, and Houston natives Trae tha Truth and The Tontons were all in attendance for the historic rally.
Tropical bass crew, Bombón started the night with booming beats of Latin electronic music that was followed with appearances by Arian Foster and the MC for the night, Bun B. Indie rock band, The Tontons, changed the vibe next to a more sultry sound with a handful of their songs. Willie D from the Geto Boys and Trae tha Truth came out after to hype the crowd while the stage was being set for Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, also known as DJ Windows 98.
“When I say Ted, you say crusin’ for a brusin’,” Willie D shouted to influence future voters.
DJ Windows 98 stepped in to talk about his excitement for politics for the first time in his life and proceeded to take a more interesting approach for his performance.
After many attempts to motivate the crowd with politically inspired tunes, DJ Windows 98 moved over to a piano on stage and sang two original songs from Arcade Fire, one being called “Suburbs,” based on his upbringing in Houston. The audience then suddenly cheered as Butler incorporated the message “… all of the walls they built in 2018 will finally fall,” into his lyrics. The audience became captivated by his moving words and began to sing along. “That was really good” one attendee said as DJ Windows 98 closed the song with a quick chorus from “Stand by Me”.
“The moment came. The man hundreds waited for runs on stage and embraces Lee as the sound of “BETO! BETO! BETO!” erupts.”
Politicians then filtered on and off stage to voice their convictions. “Send a signal to Washington!” Houston City Council member, Karla Cisneros, declared. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee then gave a powerful speech about political and social issues in America before introducing Beto O’Rourke. The moment came. The man hundreds waited for runs on stage and embraces Lee as the sound of “BETO! BETO! BETO!” erupts.
Equality, healthcare and immigration were just a few of the topics covered in O’Rourke’s speech. Several attendees shouted in agreement and interrupted with a few “BETO!” chants throughout his speech. O’Rourke left the stage as many continued to cheer his name and MC Bun B returned to the spotlight.
Bun B introduced Austin native, Shakey Graves to the audience as he stood center stage with his cowboy hat held high. Shakey Graves and his soulful southern charm was demonstrated during his performance of “Nobody’s Fool” and “Word of Mouth.” He joked with the crowd by inserting political jabs in his music and made a statement by getting on his knees with his hands held to his head during a song.
After Shakey Graves politically inspired performance, actor and activist Houston native, Kendrick Sampson, jumped on stage to talk about prison reform before introducing Trae tha Truth. Trae tha Truth began his performance and invited Chamillionaire to join him on stage as he performs “I Got It On Me”.
The spotlight then turned to Geto Boys member, Willie D as he sang their greatest hit “Mind Playing Tricks On Me.” He then turned the mic to the audience to challenge them to sing the lyrics. Failing to sing the majority of the lyrics, Willie D performed the end of the song with high energy to make up for the younger crowd’s lack of knowledge when it came to the 1991 hit.
After Willie D’s lively performance, Bun B performed the Houston anthem “Draped Up” as concert goers raised their Houston hand signs. He closed the show with the UGK hit “Int’l Players Anthem” and encouraged attendees to vote one last time before exiting the stage for the last time.