It didn’t take long for the Bomb Factory in Deep Ellum to reach full capacity on Friday night. With a lineup starring D.R.A.M. (of the breakout and Drake-bitten “Cha-Cha” and more recently, a debut album featuring the ubiquitous and Lil Yachty-assisted “Broccoli”) and the patron saint of smoke, Wiz Khalifa, plus special appearances from Texas legends Lil Flip and Erykah Badu and others, it makes sense that this was a show everyone in town wanted to see. What doesn’t quite add up is how the hottest ticket on a Friday night in the increasingly happening live music capital of Dallas, was the product of the hard work and finessing of a single individual. Friday night in Deep Ellum belonged to Bric’s Block Party, the third installment in less than a calendar year of concerts orchestrated by self-proclaimed ambassador, Bric Mason.
What began as an independent show featuring Smoke Dza, Chevy Woods and Starlito, hosted at The Door in December 2015, found a home as a larger, still predominantly underground showcase at SXSW three months later. This past weekend, the event’s third turn, just eight months later, saw performances that could easily top some of the biggest concerts in DFW this year. And it was all done independently. Performers included DFW talent, AV The Great; Houston rap founding father, Lil Flip; Smoke DZA; D.R.A.M. with an appearance from Bomb Factory-regular, Erykah Badu; Wiz Khalifa and affiliates Curren$y and Chevy Woods.
The night began with DJ sets from Dallas selectors, Bemyfriend and Sober. What followed was an inspired performance from Denton-native, AV The Great whose highest swell came at a friend of the rapper’s onstage birthday present: an epic trust dive into the sizable, early crowd.
Then, a surprise, unannounced string of classics from a gold decorated, double-cup wielding Lil Flip. And The Kushed God, Smoke DZA brought Harlem, Ghostface-inspired vibes afterward. D.R.A.M. responded with an ecstatic run of radio and internet hits like Cash Machine, Cute, Cha Cha and a frenzied reception to Erykah Badu’s appearance for “Wifi,” their duet off D.R.A.M.’s recently released debut album.
After a short intermission with a sort of cinematic level of anticipation, the smoke-draped star emerged from backstage with the adopted, unofficial Dallas Cowboys anthem “We Dem Boyz” banging out The Bomb Factory. Wiz Khalifa moseyed up and down the stage, letting the song and the fans do most of the work, while lighting joints and puffing smoke just once or twice before sharing the nearly whole pre-rolled’s with the crowd below him. Following his coasting introduction, Wiz turned electric, performing a number of his big, recent hits, from “Bake Sale” to “Young, Wild and Free.” Contributions from longtime friends and affiliates Curren$y and Chevy Woods complimented his set but it was the gangly, tattooed stoner for whom the crowd roared.
The concert played like a festival and felt like a kickback with the homies. From the giant inflatable joints that bounced clumsily among the crowd, to the barbeque plates and bags of flavored popcorn sold at tables across the venue, Bric’s Block Party was everything an epic Friday night in Dallas is supposed to be.