Review – Big Freedia at the Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, Nov. 20 2013
– by ZoÃ«Â Christmas
On Wednesday night, New Orleans bounce legend Big Freedia ripped up Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret. For the past few months, Freedia has been simultaneously touring across North America while promoting her reality TV show Queen of Bounce. While the first season has come to an end, it’s clear that Freedia is just getting started with her to goal to push New Orleans bounce into the mainstream.
Backed by Vancouver’s own Blondtron (who has evidently DJ’d for Freedia before), Freedia hit the stage just after 11 p.m. with four backup dancers. Starting off with “Na Who Mad!?” Freedia and her dancers worked up the crowd with their hypnotizing, ass-shaking moves. (By the middle of the show, Freedia had literally twerked her belt off!)
While bounce music can easily be hypersexualized, it was clear that Freedia and her dancers wanted to capture genuine NOLA bounce. In our interview last month, Freedia expressed that she doesn’t consider bounce music sexual – rather, it’s based around fun, happiness and having a good time. This vibe definitely translated to the Vancouver crowd – there was a lot of audience participation, and non-stop movement in the form of twerking, wobbling, hand-standing, booty-clapping, whatever – both onstage and in the audience. Some favourites included “Y’all Get Back Now”, “Duffy” and “Excuse”. The show ended with “Peanut Butter” – RuPaul’s bounce hit with Big Freedia.
Freedia has been on a journey with bounce for over a decade, but only recently has the music and accompanying dance craze started to spread. As the genre’s spokesperson, Freedia shouldn’t have too hard of a time pushing it internationally, especially if she keeps up the level of performance we saw Wednesday night. Let’s hope Freedia keeps the tours and festivals happening, and continues to bring some much-need New Orleans culture to wherever she goes.