Published Mar 01, 2006After performances from local underground faves Circle Research and the Oddities, Houston's DJ Rapid Ric took two turntables through a trip down South, prepping the crowd for the appearance of his laidback front-man, Devin the Dude. Sometime shortly after midnight, the Dude stepped on stage to inform the crowd that he had been in the back getting high, then pulled a joint out from behind his ear and lit up, letting out a mischievous little giggle. When the joint went out and had to be relit, Devin kept the crowd amused with a smile and an excuse: "It's the sticky-icky; it won't stay lit." The crowd took this as a sign to light up their own and soon the Reverb had a smoky haze over it, a rare sight in non-smoking Toronto. On stage, Devin comes across as your stoned friend regaling you with late night escapades involving bud, booze and bitches, with the occasional tangent delving into social issues. His silky smooth Southern drawl and the West coast-flavoured beats that draw from Southern soul, blues and Texas funk, make for a very relaxed musical environment, and the sound was so crisp and clean that every word could be heard. It was like watching a more humble, humorous Snoop Dogg (both got their big breaks from Dr. Dre), although the last time Snoop was in Toronto, despite rapping about chronic and smoking it, there wasn't a lit joint to be found in the crowd. On the other hand, when Devin broke into DJ Premier-produced crowd favourite "Doobie Ashtray" about halfway through his set, a surprising number of joints suddenly appeared. With just himself, a DJ and a bunch of pot, Devin created just the right mood for a fresh and fun rap show.