What’s the most unusual artist pairing you’ve ever seen on a concert bill? Metal and Indie? Pop and Funk? How about a Grammy Award-winning Blues guitarist and a legendary Rap artist, coming together on one stage for Red Bull’s second Houston SoundClash event?
On November 10th, Paul Wall and Gary Clark Jr. faced off at Houston’s 713 Music Hall. With two distinct stages, each celebrating the cities of the artists, the show was far from your standard concert. SoundClash involves multiple different rounds of competition in which the artists tackle cover songs, hits from each other’s catalog, changes in genre, and a roster of surprise guests, after which one of the two artists is crowned the champion.
The show kicked off with a warmup: Clark playing through a couple songs from his extensive discography, including “Feelin’ Like A Million,” followed by Wall rolling through “World Series Grillz,” amongst others. Wall kicked off the last song of his warmup by introducing Houston’s own Maxo Kream.
For the opening round, Clark took charge, covering “Come Together” with Kam Franklin of The Suffers, while back on the Houston stage, Wall covered Lil’ Troy’s classic “Wanna Be A Baller” with the help of OG Ron C.
The second round proved to be the most interesting of the night, where the duo swapped licks of each other’s songs. Clark opened up with “BYOB,” with Wall taking over halfway through, and mixing it with “Break Em Off.” Hearing Clark’s bluesy guitar riffing over Wall’s lyrics was definitely a highlight of the show.
Round three saw both artists take one of their hit songs and switch up the genre, with Clark playing through a Chopped & Screwed version of “Numb,” and Wall tackling a country version of “Swangin’ In The Rain.” This round was interesting as it highlighted the versatility of both artists.
For the final “Wildcard” round both artists played through three of their own tracks with the help of surprise guests. Clark’s performance included Rider’s Against the Storm, Jackie Venson, and Abraham Alexander, closing out with his award-winning “This Land.” Wall brought out a roster of Houston rap legends, including Lil’ Keke, Big Pokey, and Slim Thug, who closed off the round with “Still Tippin.”
For the finale, Clark played “Bright Lights,” one of his first big hits, before Wall joined him for “They Don’t Know.”
Between two stages, both artists played to a packed house and gave the crowd a great show. While it may not have been an average concert, SoundClash was a great way to celebrate the Texas music scene, and fans went home having seen a show to remember.
I'm a photographer from Houston, Texas. I listen to a lot of rock and heavy metal, but love to shoot shows of all kinds. I'm also super into cars.
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