TVD Live: Javelin, Big Freedia, 5/24 at DC9

Tuesday night DC9 felt different. The people there were different. I’ve seen The XX there, The French Kicks, various local bands among others, but most of those are of the “indie” rock variety (though is anything “indie” anymore?) There was an obvious divide in those that filled the room, those who were there for the Javelin duo, and those there for The Queen Diva her(him)self, Big Freedia.

With Tom on the keys and warbling into a muffled mike and George destroying his drum pad, these two were there to be heard. Their love for what they do was obvious and sincere, there wasn’t any snarky banter, just two dudes there trying to get us to shake our asses. They borrow from all genres, and incorporate as much as possible, my favorite being the electrified kazoo.

Their energy began and ended with the same enthusiasm. As they took us from their early synth-heavy noise pop, to their western inspired recent release and a few unreleased songs as well, all infused with bits of R & B. It’s music made for the most hyper of the ADD kids, or maybe just the kids popping Adderall, just because they can. We all hopped on at ‘C-Town’ and didn’t notice the songs change, they didn’t stop, it all became one cluster of dance singles, though ‘Radio’ and ‘Soda Popinski’ were among the crowd’s favorites.

I couldn’t keep track and they didn’t have a set list, so I asked Tom to write down what he could remember, they played a whopping thirteen songs in under an hour. To hear Javelin is to dance to Javelin, though reluctant DC can be, they eventually got on board and were ready to do it some more when Big Freedia took the stage.

Big Freedia is the embodiment of Sissy Bounce. Bounce is a sub-genre of Hip Hop based largely in New Orleans, it’s characterized by the high energy and fast tempo, but also the very specific type of dancing. It’s largely participatory, and those participating are quite literally bouncing all the way to the floor. Sissy Bounce is a sub-genre of bounce performed by transvestites, Big Freedia’s real name is Freddie Ross.

Bouncing is similar to Daggering, both largely simulate sex, but where Daggering is predominantly straight men taking a dominant role and women playing submissive, Bounce disregards all of that. And Sissy Bounce goes a step further, there are no gender roles, there’s no segregation, and there certainly wasn’t Tuesday night. What could certainly be seen as vulgar out of context was irrelevant because, gay, straight, black and white, the crowd was as diverse as they come and everyone was there to shake their ass, together.

Big Freedia walked out onto the stage announcing, “It’s a Tuesday, but we’re gonna make it into a Saturday night,” and they did. Accompanying her on stage was her dancer Altercation and DJ Rusty Lazer. The stage quickly filled with more from the audience, all ready to bounce. She opened with the call and response, ‘Gin in My System.’ The crowd was into it.

For the popular ‘Azz Everywhere’ she had four volunteers, two girls and two boys, compete for a free copy of the latest album. The first couple were dismissed with boos, while the second was egged on and declared the obvious winners.The set closed with a dedication to the late Magnolia Shorty, to which the crowd uproariously applauded, and danced in her memory. “I’m Big Freedia, Queen Diva!”

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