This weekend, I had the pleasure to see a few live performances as part of the Big Freedia Bounce Shakedown 2015 tour at Irving Plaza in NYC. The first set was performed by the teacher-by-day and “sex-nerd” rapper-by-night, Boyfriend, who manages to titillate the audience with the complexities of romantic relationships via hard rhyme while simultaneously theatrically displaying in the raunchiest and provocative burlesque attire and moves, which included body-surfing the crowd in the barest minimum outfit without missing a beat.
The second set performance by Seattle-based pop band, Hibou, (pronounced: EEE-BOO) allowed the crowd to cool down some steam by focusing on some carefree west coast tunes. Frontman and singer-songwriter Peter Michel looks innocent enough with his bed-head beachy waves, mellow vibes and boyish charm as he rocks out happily in his zone on stage all the while expressing his gratitude for having the opportunity to open for Big Freedia even if his music does not inspire the type of rear movement Freedia is known for.
By now it was closer to 2AM and the crowd was starting to get listless but by the time Freedia’s DJ, Juane Jordan, hits the stage the venue suddenly swells and re-energizes with loyal fans as the audience gets ready to bounce as only the original diva of New Orleans can make her fans do along with the assistance of her bodacious back-up bounce dancers. The highlight of the performance is when Freedia accepts open call submissions on stage for some of America’s Next Top Bouncers. The stage swarms up with enthusiastic participants and suddenly you become mesmerized by plethora of bouncing taking place all at once. You don’t even know where to first fix your eyes. Freedia is pleased.
I had the pleasure of seeing Freedia a few months ago at her book signing for her memoir, “Big Freedia: God Save the Queen Diva” at Powerhouse Books in D.U.M.B.O. In her book and at her book signing she discusses overcoming adversity, her reality show on FUSE, seemingly unlikely artists collaborations and empowering women by providing her stage as a platform for women to express themselves artistically. All of these themes were witnessed in one night’s performance and I look forward to seeing what new projects Freedia will have in store for us.