The crowd buzzed in anticipation for Big Freedia’s sold out show at Mohawk’s outdoor stage. Dubbed the “Queen of Bounce”, the New Orleans Bounce music pioneer is known for her high-energy shows filled with lots of dancing and a whole lot of twerking.
I was curious to see if the opener, Me Nd Adam, could match the energy that filled the venue. To my surprise, the crowd lit up when the group began their set by walking out to Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road, followed by an unreleased song.
The newly Austin-based duo has a style that falls at the intersection of rock, trap and EDM; an interesting combination melded into one. Think the chaotic evil version of Imagine Dragons.
Frontman Adam Walker's charisma kept the audience engaged as he delivered strong vocals about being young, reckless, lustful and drunk over pulsing trap beats produced by Vince Winik. The group ended their set with their most popular track, Foolish Lover, leaving the crowd prepped for what was to come.
Big Freedia lived up to the hype; her commanding voice over hard hitting club music had everyone in the place shaking something. Her style of music, known as Bounce, has elements of fast and repetitive Jersey club music with the vocal tendencies of a dancehall emcee. Songs like N.O. Bounce, cement her position as a pioneer as she reminded the crowd, “I’m that queen that’ll make you bounce”.
Through intense build-ups and drops, Freedia and her dancers put on as much as a dance party as a concert; filled with call and responses and of course, a twerking contest. A prominent figure for queer artist of color, Freedia’s music reflects empowerment and inclusion. Her performance created an electric atmosphere of self-expression and as I looked around, everyone was dancing together in a truly care-free spirit.
After admitting he had never heard of Bounce music, Doug MacCash from Nola.com sent an open invitation to Louisiana Governor, John Bel Edwards, to accompany him to Big Freedia's set at this upcoming Jazz Fest. MacCash goes as far as saying that in New Orleans, Bounce music is "more important than the Beatles", showing the implications of Edward's unawareness to the genre.
If you have ever been to NOLA during Mardi Gras or spent just a night roaming the French Quarters, it's clear that Freedia's music is much more than just "Bounce", but rather a representation of New Orleans' culture and the many generations of people that have contributed to it.