Much like an argument on what is the greatest Air Jordan of all time, naming a favorite song of the Los Angeles, California based group The Pharcyde is difficult.  Fans will easily consider their three biggest hits of “Runnin’”, “Drop” and the go to backpack lonely fellow soong in “Passin’ Me By” but those whom have followed the group from the moment Bizarre Ride hit stores could name you numerous songs from the group and profess with plenty of logic why each one mattered more.

As the group turned Groundhall into an orgy of hip-hop both yesteryear and now, it was evident that regardless of what album they currently had out, The Pharcyde had developed enough of a following through years of releases to ensure a thoroughly entertaining show was going to be had.

Hits and rarities flowed through their hour long set, including Imani challenging Bootie Brown to a dance contest mid way through, Brown cutting through all the Pharcyde work he’s compiled and launching into his work with the Gorillaz & the trio being surrounded by at least seven of Houston’s “single ladies” that were in the crowd. Needless to say, those women nearly turned the event into the second portion of a Too $hort show as they were winding and grinding on one another, even coming super close on Slimkid3.

Even close to running over speakers.

The group are masters of crowd participation, stopping in between a certain number of songs to raise awareness for the smokers (medleys of Sister Nancy, Collie Buddz & Luniz), the departed (Michael Jackson, Teena Marie). Once the opening chords to “Passin’ Me By” began strumming out, the crowd eventually lost their minds, rapping along to every single wod as if their middle school crush had done them wrong from the upmteenth time. Even though a “damn, that really happened” track closed the show, Bootie Brown, Imani & Slimkid3 showered the crowd with numerous thank yous from a group who succeeded in giving a great show, ripping through a catalog worthy of such efforts.

From the onset, Groundhall was packed in a much different setting than the one I had experienced for Dom Kennedy’s Cali-2-Texas Tour. The DJ booth near the stage was in use, DJ Elroy Boogie spent much of his time cutting through records and creating a mini party inside of an already large party atmosphere and there were projection screens on each side just in case someone couldn’t see the action on the main stage. The zaniest moments came from the master of ceremonies BBC & the lovely Karina Nistal who decided giving a crowd of fully grown adults who had consumed some serious liquor dum dums was sufficient. I would have gone for a Blow Pop though.

Even though the thought that openers benefit the most from the headliners sometimes rings true in hip-hop circles, both Nosaprise and Ozeal shined with Nosa especially warming people up for folks who are going to see his band Screwtape at the Main Street Block Party & his own opening set for The Cool Kids on Sunday.

Flanked by Screwtape at various moments during his set, Nosa played with the same sort of reckless abandon and freeness that might be completely acceptable in a game of Tony Hawk on the old Playstation. His demeanor didn’t change at all once it was just him, his hypeman & Elroy Boogie on stage as his stage presence made a robbing tale sound exhilarating (“Hands High”), funeral music for the hipsters be equally triumphant & solemn (“Bang”) and curtailing the early portion of weed smokers with a brisk sample of The Delfonics.

As a kid in a candy store who just saw one of his favorite jawbreakers, he would be remiss if he didn’t mention the group of four that made moves from NYC to TX and back again, vibing off of one another to produce a moving set, one that inexplicably left me without the proper contact information for them.

Even with that defeat, no man may have been more defeated than the sweeper guy inside of Groundhall once the venue turned into a partial club strictly for backpackers who jerked to anything from Wu-Tang to Blackstar. Stepping from backstage, the floor was absolutely littered with beer cans & plastic cups. Some goers turned into lovers, others into dejected and bitter loners but such is the end result of a truly bizarre ride at the former Engine Room.