Last Night at 35 Conferette: Big Freedia Brings Boatloads of Booty, Blows Denton's Mind.
Big Freedia wants you to shake your ass.
7 p.m., Main Stage Two
There's no doubt an element of empowerment at play within Big Freedia's thumping, bass-heavy offerings of so-called "sissy bounce" hip-hop. Freedia, the self-proclaimed "Queen Diva" of bounce music, is a rarity in the rap world as an open homosexual. And, for that, she should no doubt be applauded.
But, on the other hand, it's tough to even notice as much during her live shows.
With ass, well, everywhere, both in song and presentation -- the New Orleans performer's biggest hit is quite literally called "Azz Everywhere," and she's joined on-stage with three backup dancers who serve as equal parts hype-women and booty-shakers (but mostly the later) -- there are plenty of distractions from that main point.
And, make no mistake, this performance was very much a distraction from the otherwise rather family-friendly and docile offerings we've seen so far at 35 Conferette's outdoor stages (see: Mavis Staples, Local Natives, Dr. Dog and, uh, Michael Cera), and a welcome one, too.
With an equal parts enthralled and bemused audience stretched out before her -- the biggest yet seen at Main Stage Two, by our count -- Freedia shook what her momma gave her, encouraged her dancers to do the same and barked at the audience to join in, which they willingly did. At one point, Denton folk darling Sarah Jaffe even got on stage and joined in on the booty-shaking fun.
That -- and not some sort of anti-homophobic agenda, which Freedia barrels through rather than repeatedly confront -- is the crux of Freedia's show. Every song, essentially, is the same, focusing lyrically on ass and pussy (her words) and doing certain things to and with those body parts. And yet no one seemed to mind; this was the party everyone expected and wanted of the set.
Tough to say if it was what the City of Denton wanted, though: Before the festival, in the wake of last year's Flaming Lips show, city officials specifically requested that nothing too obscene be put on display on the public stages, and Freedia's performance was obscene by design.
So, hey, if anyone from the city asks, just play up the anti-homophobic stuff. OK, you guys? OK.
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