Erykah Badu's Birthday Bash: It Will Be Wild

Before COVID, stage diving existed. Erykah Badu's birthday bash should be wild again this year.
Before COVID, stage diving existed. Erykah Badu's birthday bash should be wild again this year. Mike Brooks
North Texas has more than a few things in common with England: A love of pickled foods, an affinity for violent sports, a real blood-thirst for hunting and the fact that our monarch’s birthdays are a huge f-ing deal.

The late Queen Elizabeth’s birthday has been a national holiday in England for what seemed to her son Charles like a billion years. It's a day of celebration marked by the production of commemorative plates and gun salutes. Big deal; in some parts of Dallas, gun salutes happen every single night. And on our “Queen of Neo-Soul” Erykah Badu’s birthday, we get something even hotter than a freshly fired bullet: a huge concert in Deep Ellum.

Badu’s Birthday Bash has become a tradition in recent years. With a long lineup of guests that includes her famous family and friends, the singer puts on a spectacular concert while introducing the public to the closest members of the Baduverse, from celebrity BFFs Dave Chappelle, Jada Pinkett Smith and Willow, local acts Cure For Paranoia and Trapboy Freddy, to her own daughter Puma Curry, who made her singing debut at one of her mother's birthday concerts a few years ago.

Now the big day is fast approaching. On Feb. 24, at the Bomb Factory (2713 Canton St.), Badu will once again host thousands of fans to celebrate the anniversary of her birth. Considering concert ticket prices these days rival the cost of a simple surgery, the tickets are reasonably priced ($65+ for floor tickets, $250 for balcony seats).

Only real fans, however, know not to trust the FAQs for the concert’s website. This is Badu World, where the show may be marked “all-ages,” but it's not, unless you want your kids to show up at daycare smelling like they were left in a car hotboxed by Post Malone.

Likewise, the venue’s doors may open at 6:30 p.m. with the first opener announced for 8:30 p.m., but for the love of God please remember that Badu is notoriously, without fail, absolutely always, invariably and reliably late. This is not a criticism but a historical fact. Being tardy, according to science, is a trait that's prevalent among people who are more intelligent and even among those who are more successful.

Accepting that other people will be late is your only chance to last until the end of the night. Take a disco nap, have your phone charged, eat a big dinner before you head out.

One thing that can be counted on, in addition to Badu's fashionable lateness, is an abundance of talent on the stage, even when she doesn't need any co-headliners.

The singer recently announced some of the names in the lineup. And look, one day we’ll get our dream collaboration: Badu and Thom Yorke. But for now we’re pretty happy with the fact that Badu has recently paired up with a fellow North Texan, electronic artist Marc Rebillet, because the musicians are known to venture well beyond the barriers of genre and structure, and they're both impressively eccentric.

Badu and Rebillet first came together two years ago during a live jam on YouTube, where they played with loops and experimented on the keyboard while he was — as always— dressed in a silky robe and boxers, while she wore a metal, geometric, 3D-star-cage thing around her head. All the while images such as a close-up of a cabbage zoomed in and out behind them in the background. It was all we imagined it could be.

Their combined musical genius, playground zest and fearless exploration make them natural collaborators, so of course Rebillet will be a special guest at Badu's birthday show, which will also include performances by Wu-Tang member Raekwon and up-and-comer BigXThaPlug.

You're still in time to catch this awesome insanity. Tickets start at $65 at
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Mike Brooks
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Eva Raggio is the Dallas Observer's music and arts editor, a job she took after several years of writing about local culture and music for the paper. Eva supports the arts by rarely asking to be put on "the list" and always replies to emails, unless the word "pimp" makes up part of the artist's name.
Contact: Eva Raggio

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