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Review & Photos By Ursula Rogers

Big Freedia, The Queen Diva blessed concert goers with her presence Monday at Mohawk in Austin. Her opening acts were Austin natives Trouble in the Streets and Caleb De Casper.

Trouble in the Streets is an Austin-based group. Their genre is a musical gumbo of electronic/dance, hip hop, world, R&B, and more. They were a wonderful opening act for Big Freedia. They brought light, love, and energy. Lead vocalist, Nnedi Nebula’s voice had a near ethereal quality. The atmosphere created by the group emitted a positive vibe that flowed throughout the crowd. I felt as if I could be myself without judgment. That feeling amped up with each act and lasted throughout the night. Each performance allowing me to come to terms and realize different versions of my own personal freedoms. Trouble in The Streets gave a transcendent otherworldly quality, and I can’t wait to see the heights they reach with their musical journey.

I was completely new to the experience that is Caleb De Casper. Sometimes I like going to shows without much prior knowledge. I saw the set and was excited by the keytar then heard someone mention the upcoming act would wear a cape and my eyes lit up. I knew the performance was about to be camp, extra, and theatrical. It did not disappoint. Casper and the whole crew made an impression on me and the entire crowd. Casper gave artistry, musicality. Casper gave me life. I highly recommend anyone go see this glam rock experience. I read that Caleb De Casper is a classically trained musician and it shows. This gem of a person resides in Austin, Texas, and has been performing for at least 10 years. This was my time seeing him perform and it won’t be my last.

You already know! The Queen of bounce had the club rockin’ on a Monday! I was familiar with the New Orleans native, Big Freedia, but hadn’t experienced any of their live performances. When that baritone voice rang from the stage. The crowd roared and bounced their booties. Every booty matters when Big Freedia takes the stage. I could hear and see the influence of disco star Sylvester, hip hop group Salt N Pepa, Rock N Roll pioneer Little Richard and many others. There is unapologetic captivating energy to how Big Freedia moves.

I only hope to be so free. When one grows up as a gay Black man in New Orleans, Louisiana what else can you be? New Orleans bounce music is a sub-genre of Hip Hop that focuses on call and response and certain types of beats. With the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, Big Freedia was one of the main people to spread this subgenre and bring New Orleans to so many. Especially those who had been displaced by the destructive hurricane.

Big Freedia was also one of the first to return when it was safe and held shows in the city. She and this music gave hope and a sense of place to people. I enjoy shaking my butt like any good girl from the South. There is something about the Big Freedia’s music. Maybe ownership and agency, that made it seem like the women on stage weren’t overtly being sexualized and if they were it was on their terms. That’s how Big Freedia moves. In her own terms.

Big Freedia Setlist
BDE
Platinum
Betty Bussit
Judas
(Lady Gaga cover)
N.O. Bounce
Explode
Y’Tootsay
Booty Whop
Strut
(Snippet)
Nice for What
(Drake cover)
Strut
Formation
(Beyoncé cover)
Play
Chasing Rainbows
Azz Everywhere
Goin’ Looney
Not Today
Y’all Get Back Now
Karaoke
Rock Around the Clock
Rent
Gin in My System
(Unknown)
Ordinary People
(John Legend cover)
Live Your Best Life (Do It Like Its Your Bday)
(Joseline Hernandez cover)
Before I Let Go
(Beyoncé cover)
Happy Birthday
(Stevie Wonder cover)

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