There’s been a trend of late where big musical acts invite New Orleans bands/artists to open for them on their tours. For instance, the Red Hot Chili Peppers had the Rebirth Brass Band open for them last year on their tour. Metallica and Green Day have had the Soul Rebels open for them. Etc. Whether this is a ploy to enhance cool cred — New Orleans is, after all, the coolest city in America, if not the world — or a good-hearted effort to help some musicians get exposure and sell some records, it’s becoming increasingly common.
With that said, the Postal Service’s decision to take booty-shaking Bounce queen Big Freedia on the road as their opening act was…inspired, to the point where you have to wonder if Ben Gibbard and Jenny Lewis were just hoping to troll their fans. Hilariously, but predictably, some of the group’s lily-white hipster fanbase — who fancy themselves as curious, cultured, forward-thinking people, mind you — have been a little freaked out by all the on-stage “twerking” (For the record, Big Freedia was making asses shake long before twerking was a thing…that’s why it’s called “Bounce” music) they’ve witnessed in the tour’s early stages.
Reports the Seattle Times:
In the normally neutral space of KeyArena, audience members were irritated, seemed to be uncomfortable with Freedia’s brand of sexual expression and questioned whether the performance was “real music.”
Men in the stands conspicuously proclaimed their own heterosexuality, and in general the response was uneasy. Workers at food/beer stands confirmed everyone who ordered from them gave the set a negative review.
The lyrics and the bodies on stage seemed to need some complicated reconciling by these unhappy customers — which is drastically overthinking Freedia’s act. Maybe grumblers misunderstood the musical premise of bounce rap, looking for chord changes and intricate storytelling, when it’s really about cutting loose?
Searching Twitter for fan reactions to what they saw yielded some hilarious results. Among my personal favorites…
White people! This guy’s face says it all. Here’s a pic of the front page of the Seattle Times the day after the show…
Perhaps all Postal Service fans should be required to watch this Bounce education video for hipsters before entering the arena going forward.
Meanwhile, if you get the chance to see Big Freedia live, don’t pass on it. A friend of mine in Seattle recently had a friend in New Orleans on business and she reached out to me for advice on what her friend should do on the last night he was in town. Coincidentally, Big Freedia was playing that night at Republic, a venue in the Warehouse District that hosts a regular “Bounce night,” and I just happened to be there. The following bit of advice was offered via text…
I feel safe in saying that Kyle’s life changed that night. So, yeah, FOLLOW MY ADVICE!
Meanwhile, Big Freedia is opening for the Postal Service in Berkeley later this week. I fully expect heads to explode.