on deck: big freedia at rock n roll hotel

21 Feb

This St. Patrick’s day will be a weird one for me. And weird in two very different, distinctly weird ways, because neither of them involve Guinness. First, I’m running my second half-marathon, the DC Rock N Roll Half-Marathon, for which I am woefully underprepared. Second, I’m seeing bounce DJ extraordinaire Big Freedia tear up Rock n Roll Hotel that night.

Just push play. Semi NSFW.

Now that your mind is appropriately blow, allow me to explain. Big Freedia is a big name in the world of bounce, a New Orleans-based subset of hip-hop with similar characteristics to DC’s beloved go-go. Bounce is extremely energetic and relentlessly fast, but with a gritty feel to lyrics that often center strongly on booty-shaking (especially in Big Freedia’s case). It often involves the call-and-response patterns that characterize go-go as well, but with an energy level unparalleled by any genre.

Big Freedia (aka the Queen Diva, if you ask her), in everything from her style to her music to her sexuality, is a gigantic force to be reckoned with, and she is one of the few bounce artists to gain attention on the national stage beyond New Orleans. She is also part of why bounce is one of the few hip hop communities to accept gender bending and alternative sexual identity as all part of the game.

Regardless of the smoke and mirrors surrounding Big Freedia herself, one only needs to watch video or see pictures of her shows to see that she is nothing short of a magician when it comes to performing. Small clubs are turned into all-out raves with each person in the crowd giving everything they have to keep up with the rapid-fire beat, with varying degrees of success. If DC throws down even 10% like  Brooklyn did when big Freedia came to NY in 2010, then Rock N Roll Hotel will simply never be the same again.

Do some exploring to get a closer look at what this scene and sound are all about- but again, much is NSFW so don’t say I didn’t warn you about the amount of gyrating you’re about to see. Pitchfork produced an excellent video about the singer here, definitely check it out–then buy a ticket to see how DC’s crowd responds to Hurricane Freedia in March.


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