Big Freedia at the Turf Club, 2/2/13

Categories: Gimme Noise
Photo by Erik Hess
Big Freedia
Turf Club, St. Paul
Saturday, February 2, 2013

By the time New Orleans' Queen Diva Big Freedia took the stage, the crowd seemed worlds away from a cool down. With all that sustained pleasure, it makes a bit of sense that the roomful of Freedia Freaks would eventually fizzle.

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Slideshow: Big Freedia at the Turf Club, 2/2/13
Big Freedia: My personality drew all these people to me

Steam began pouring out of the Turf Club's entryway at a pretty early point on Saturday. The front end was venting that sweaty dance biproduct like a manhole about half an hour into DJ Shannon Blowtorch's time -- well before bounce music high priestess Big Freedia began leading the room. DJ Shannon Blowtorch seemed well tapped in to Freedia's ass-shaking tenants considering the perpetual break-beat punches crammed behind nü classics like "Ni**as in Paris."

Photos by Erik Hess
That's not to say it wasn't a thrill to get to the come down. Freedia's three-piece hype team made good on the Turf Club's curbside advertisement that promised "Ass Everywhere!!" Throughout the hour, ass managed to gyrate atop speaker stacks. Legs stretched to the house lights above. Booties, both amateur and Freedia-sponsored alike, were reeling across the room like yoyos. So it comes at a bit of a letdown that the fluidity between Freedia and her DJ never really mirrored the succinct rhythm that wall-to-wall butt cheeks achieved. 

The group brought out their fan favorites early. "Gin in My System" and "Rock Around the Clock" popped out within the first three tracks. And while Freedia controlled the atmosphere of an entire room dedicated to her call-and-response, she could never really connect with her DJ's timing. You could, however, perpetually count on a Jamaican air horn followed by a bomb-drop sample to indicate the end of a track. 
Photos by Erik Hess
But these imperfections are hard to dwell on. The wafting stank that filled all corners of the club kind of reiterated that this whole thing is supposed to be a messier affair. And what Freedia does best is making that experience a shared one. Guys and gals took to the stage song after song, many shedding layers. Freedia's comfort with this closeness is a joy. It's a sensual multitasking of sorts. At one point, she offered her hand for a kiss to an older gentleman all while her head was turned to chat up a beefcakier male dancer. So good at giving herself, in fact, that people seemed to begin feeling satisfied before the meal was over. 

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