At the end of the night, once the packed crowd inside the Bronze Peacock at House of Blues started to disperse, Easy Yves Saint could be seen walking around with a bottle. It’s a customary tradition of sorts for the NYC to HTX transplant as the previous two times I’ve caught the lead vocalist of the Houston quartet The Niceguys, he usually has a bottle of brown liquor to celebrate the end of a great night.

This time it was champagne. The difference between a bottle of Jack Daniels & champagne is easy unless you’ve actually seen the work and drive the group has put in over time. After numerous delays, the group finally brought their debut album to a main stage in Houston. With a crowd featuring numerous local artists from Propain to Eskabel to Fat Tony and others including the Trill OG himself Bun B, anticipation couldn’t have been higher for a show that was grassroots produced. The band was their own promoter, utilizing social networks and their own buzz to packing out the Bronze Peacock on a Tuesday night.

From the opening vocals of singer and reputed panty dropper Lee Lonn Walker to the closing clash of bottles, glasses and paper cips – The Niceguys decided to turn their perceived right as showman of the stage into a coronation of a group that locally respected and nationally known.

Yves flanked by Cristoph & Free decided to have a little fun with the arrangements of the night.  So amped by his own vocals and energy, Yves relinquished the microphone for both producers of the group to immediately give the Beastie Boys “New Style” a little Southside treatment. The entire scene looked like something out of a house party with Kyleon even looking at amazement, shocked that even the producers of the group indeed had bars to spare.

Each song from “Things Ain’t The Same” to “Die Later” had anthemic feels to them, as if they were meant to be shared with a large group of people. The former runs on James Kelly’s guitar work and Mantis lead vocalist Nick Greer stretching his vocals along a late night at the beach vibe while the latter is about as close to audio napalm as you can get. Ground shaking even. It garners the same sort of reaction you see when someone hears Jay-Z’s “U Don’t Know” or Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time: you’re compelled to move.

You’re also compelled to enjoy great music as James Kelly’s guitar solo on “Mr. Perfect” (aka the unofficial Auburn Tiger fight song) deserved some sort of special ending. Maybe a little flaming guitar ala Jimi Hendrix.

Oh, and Lee Lonn Walker’s chorus work on “Somebody” reeks of Philly soul and Cooley High aesthetics. Two-stepping greatness occurred as Yves painted portraits of love for a crowd eager to snatch up dance partners and begin swaying. When he’s not playing Twitter’s version of Dave Chappelle, Jack Freeman delivers solid, spectacular, braggadocios hooks with splendor.  “Not At All” received an alternate take as well with Freeman executing those vocals that made his Dark Liquor EP a crowd favorite.

Before The Niceguys torched the stage, Thurogood Wordsmith opened with an entertaining set, mixing in some of his work from the critically acclaimed The Appetizer EP with tracks set to appear on his upcoming album Brass Knuckle Sandwich. Wordsmith gained a notable following, not to mention a few points for originality by being the first rapper I can ever remember name dropping Mattress Mack in a song on “App For That”.

Mantis followed suit and if you’ve ever seen the band in person, you would easily mistake Nick Greer as the ginger version of Buddy Holly. Mixing a blend of electro funk, rock & blues, the group cut through its set like a knife through butter, having the crowd sing along to cuts such as “Snap” and “Money”. Such a response during their set elicited loud cheers whenever they finished with a track, making it nearly perfect to anticipate more music from the group since there’s only three songs on their Soundcloud page.

During set breaks, DJ Candlestick (he of that Los Angeles Times piece about the chopped and screwed version of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and prodigy of the legendary OG Ron C) kept the crowd at bay with numerous mixes, even dropping an Aaliyah tribute and tributes to the Houston classics with a live band backing him.

Classic is a word you can describe any Killa Kyleon set though. He’ll always give you little reminders of what he’s done with the Boss Hogg Outlaws but will be quick to perform his latest tracks that just hit the blogosphere. When Houston producer Yung Chill joined him on stage for “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”, Killa performed without stumbling or pauses for breaths. The trend continued when he peppered Big K.R.I.T.’s “Moon & Stars” remix with his punchline flow and hugged Wiz Khalifa’s “Spotlight” as if he were the main attraction and not just a featured guest. Barkley’s and all, Kyleon looked like a symbol of Houston hip-hop when it ran on its own rules and refused to conform to anybody. Although, a quirky situation appeared when the venue decided to premiere bits and pieces of The Niceguys “Toast” visual in the middle of Kyleon’s set.

Towards the end of the show when the Trill OG joined the Niceguys on stage, it felt momentous. Yes, Bun dropped two verses from “Let Me See it” and poured out a little champagne for Pimp C, DJ Screw and all of those who couldn’t enjoy the show but it felt like a family reunion. So much that in fact, Bun even received some boudain from the group on stage. Yes, boudain. He proved to be the only teacher currently working at a major university in the country that would probably pour up with his students.

Just remind me to approach him when it’s not during a concert.