Black Weirdo Party
with THEESatisfaction, Sarah White, Sweetz P, DJ Just Nine and Mamadu
Gamut Gallery, Minneapolis
Friday, May 23, 2014
The basement of downtown's Gamut Gallery played host to the touring Black Weirdo Party, a traveling celebration and community space with the stated goal "To create an energizing, unifying and healing home space for Black queers and People of Color from all backgrounds, identities and experiences." Thanks to some excellent music provided by organizers THEESatisfaction and a string of Twin Cities best, the party succeeded in that regard, standing out as one of the most energetic and vibrant local social gatherings on record.
The evening's vibe was far more house party than venue show. It was both musically on point and loud enough to rival bigger concerts, but intimate enough to truly feel like a community space. THEESatisfaction's Stas and Cat alternated DJ duties to start off the night, which slowly grew from a small group of dancers to a full on basement rager. Running through surefire dancefloor classics like Michael Jackson and Prince alongside Azealia Banks and Sir Mix A Lot, the duo was clearly having fun coaxing the crowd into loosening up. A chair by the wall was marked as the "Twerk Chair" which didn't get a lot of use for it's intended purpose, but it was nice to know it was there just in case.
The dancing got more and more lively as Mamadu (Toki Wright's DJ alter ego) took to the tables. Spinning tracks in sections, from funk and soul by James Brown and Stevie Wonder to modern reggae to club-oriented hip-hop, the set seemed carefully chosen to reflect the history and diversity of Black music with an ear for riling up crowds. When a dance circle broke out to "Crazy In Love," the pop-and-locking, doo-wop shimmys, and spontaneous backflips that ensued signified that the people were sufficiently ready to party.
The energy only climbed from there, as a string of performances from an expertly curated lineup followed. Sweetz P's brash hardcore raps segued into Sarah White's spacey futurist funk, and the contrast highlighted just how inclusive the party's philosophy was. Sweetz is among the Twin Cities hardest spitters, with unflinching content and a gritty approach that flips the script on the standard expectations for both female and local rappers.
Though her sound diverged from the neo-soul leanings of the rest of the bill, she clearly fit in among the Black Weirdos. The microphone could've stood to be louder, but Sweetz's untamed energy bled through every track regardless, winning over a crowd made up of fans and fresh ears alike.
Sarah White switched the vibe sharply with electronic-leaning chilled funk that inspired some particularly impressive dance moves from some of the audience. Simultaneously experimental and rooted in traditional sounds, the unique sound again fit perfectly.