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Big Freedia and The Suffers Bounce & Turn Up at the House Of Blues

Call & response, booty shaking, and high energy are the hallmarks of a Big Freedia show.
Call & response, booty shaking, and high energy are the hallmarks of a Big Freedia show.
Photo by Jennifer Lake

Big Freedia & The Suffers
House Of Blues
January 17, 2020

The spirit and magic of New Orleans will always be a part of our identity here in Houston. Even before August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina forced many to relocate west down I-10, our city was already immersed with the energy and natives of the Crescent City.

Last night at the House Of Blues, we were reminded of just how deep our love for New Orleans permeates, and joined hands in awe of two of the best cultural representatives that each city has to offer.

First up onstage was hometown darling The Suffers, who are beginning the New Year by amicably parting ways with founding members Adam Castañeda and Patrick Kelly. In on the backline is the newest member of the group, Juliet Terrill on bass guitar. Her fingers kept a solid and funky groove as the band revisited past favorites and introduced a couple of new tracks.

From upbeat singles like "Do Whatever" to soulful offerings such as "Giver", The Suffers are sure to hit you with some kind of emotion as they pull on your heartstrings while making you dance and sing along.

Next year will mark a decade since the band's debut, and as lead singer Kam Franklin assures everyone, there's plenty more Suffers jams coming soon.

Kam Franklin provides the emotional heartbeat for The Suffers.
Kam Franklin provides the emotional heartbeat for The Suffers.
Photo by Jennifer Lake

One of the new tracks was an empowerment song about staying true to yourself in the face of life's many obstacles. "It don't cost a thing to be you, so be you!" sang Franklin as she moved across the stage with determination and grace. The second new song was a fun bounce-inspired track called "Yadda Yadda", a not so subtle "f*ck you" to the establishment and the haters in the music industry.

High above the stage was a crown encircled in booty, ready to be adorned by the Queen Of Bounce herself, Big Freedia. One by one, Freedia and her dancers took the stage wearing purple church choir robes, which were quickly shed once the first beat hit the sounds system.

A Big Freedia show is non-stop action.
A Big Freedia show is non-stop action.
Photo by Jennifer Lake

From that first note until the end of the night, the show was non-stop action and twerking. The audience was hypnotized by all the booty-shaking and enticed by the several call and response chants led by the New Orleans diva. At this time, not a soul in the room was still, invigorated by the bounce and turning up to the beat.

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On the side of the stage, legendary DJ/producer Mannie Fresh of Cash Money was seen enjoying both acts. Big Freedia later asked him to join the party onstage where he rapped two verses from the bounce rap anthem "Back That Azz Up". That track alone is legendary, and to hear it live was absolute magic.

Freedia requested 20 volunteers from the crowd to join her onstage for an impromptu twerk competition, which resulted in the live manifestation of her track "Azz Everywhere". One thing is certain, Freedia is an equal opportunity twerk queen. She invited young, old, black, white, thin and thick to the stage, and gave everybody a chance to showcase their skills.

To end the evening, Big Freedia slowed it down while leading her audience in a round of karaoke with "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston, followed up with "Before I Let Go" by Frankie Beverly & Maze. She reminded us to cherish every moment in life, one dance at a time.

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