Big Freedia brings her butt-thundering New Orleans bounce to Oakland. Plus: Pepe Bradock, Drumcode DJs, Mixmaster Mike, and more cheeky nightlife
It's impossible for me to think of Big Freedia without exploding into happy feathers. As the fierce national face of New Orleans' bounce music movement (along with her drag daughter, Sissy Nobby), Freedia's been shoehorned into several media narratives that don't necessarily do her justice — popular performer who bridges a supposed gap between flamboyant gayness and macho rap, evidence that original regional roots music is still being generated in our monocultural-seeming musical world, post-Katrina beat-healer of ravished communities, anthropological curiosity. But she's all that and more: a canny, hard-working force of nature who can really turn you out.
Bounce, with its quick-step, butt-thundering beats and hypersexual call-and-response template, has done a lot to push New Orleans back to the forefront of the American dance music scene. That a shoulder-shrugging attitude toward its superstar's transgender appearance and cartoonish sexuality accompanies the sound should only surprise those who somehow missed Little Richard and Prince, not to mention Cameo and Cam'ron. Still, Freedia's matter-of-fact, out-and-proud "Queen Diva" stance is all too rare in hip-hop. First-time listeners, after taking in Freedia's feminine peacocking, still get floored when her gravelly voice orders straight crowds to "bend ovah like I told ya!" in her hit "Azz Everywhere." (And then they do.)
Outsiders have called Freedia's style "sissy bounce" — a niche label she rejects, and one that's pretty inaccurate. Freedia's first appearance in the Bay, last year at a San Francisco drag party, left the sissy audience completely befuddled. This time around, she'll be in Oakland at a mixed affair put on by the fab Le Heat and Hella Gay parties. And now that she's been featured everywhere from Diplo's blog to The New York Times Magazine, Bay crowds may be ready to "jump back, shoot it up now, bitches get down" the Big Easy way.
Big Freedia Wed/9, 9 p.m., $10. The New Parrish, 579 18th St., Oakl. www.thenewparish.com
The jazz-educated Frenchman could have been beamed up after he gifted the world with orchestral house classic "Deep Burnt" in 1999 and still been lionized. But he's consistently delivered deep-streaming tracks that drop at just the right moments. He'll be headlining the Staple boys' ear-ticking Darkroom monthly with Fil Latorre and Javaight.
Thu/9, 9 p.m., $10. 222 Hyde, SF. www.222hyde.com
DRUMCODE: ADAM BEYER AND IDA ENGBERG
Attack of the Swedish techno giants! Drumcode label head Adam Beyer and "Disco Volante" hitmaker Ida Engberg bring news from the detail-oriented Stockholm scene to the perfectly curated weekly Base party at Vessel. My longtime local bass-maven crush Nikola Baytala warms up.
Thurs/9, 10 p.m., $15. Vessel, 85 Campton Place, SF. www.vesselsf.com
The debut of this dark wave, minimal synth, and rare post-punk party last month was fashionably bananas — don't miss the follow up with DJ Justin of Nachtmusik, Banshee, Dreamweapon, Julian DeStrukt, and Nary Guman of Warm Leatherette.
Fri/10, 9:30 p.m., $7. Cat Club, 1190 Folsom, SF. www.sfcatclub.com
BACK TO SCHOOL
Aw, already? Meet and greet the new freshman class of clubgoers, probably wearing even more fantastically mismatched ensembles than previously imagined, at this electro blowout put on by the Blow Up kids. Tenderloins, Udachi, Sticky K, Lucky Date, Jeffrey Paradise, and more stoke your higher learning.