LIVE: Afropunk Festival 2013
by Reginald Duvivier
Photos: Reginald Duvivier and Sneakshot Photography
AfroPunk has grown from the little documentary that could into a festival season force of its own right. For it’s 2013 setup they had bands playing across two major stages (and one small dance setup) in Commodore Barry Park in Ft. Greene Brooklyn. You had dance music provided by DJ Mike Q keeping many in the crowd striking a pose followed by DJ Roofeeo played a trap remix of the Super Mario brother’s theme. Some attendees wore high heels and some wore combat boots.Homemade signs written with “free hugs” were seen on the outskirts of the whirling dervish of violence that is a mosh pit.
Pyyramid‘s post punk inspired attack improved since we last saw them; front woman Drea Smith owns her snarls and shrieks with ease. Sunny Gang was a solid blast of snotty punk performed by a band young enough that they probably still need to steal their beer. The Coup came out in full funk band mode and had all the Bay transplants (which is now 82% of creative New York) grooving. K-os kept it solid and fun, but eventually gave the crowd what they wanted with his Puff Daddy-esque cover of Pal Joey’s “Hot Music (Jazz) in the form of his hit “Superstarr, Part Zero”. UK band The Heavy rocked hard, had almost the entire field on their feet, especially when they performed their hit “How You Like Me Now?” CX Kidtronik‘s performance was filled with the finest of ratchetry –and the death of a MPC, gyrating chicks wearing tight jeans with the booty cut waaaaay low, Spider Man were banging on the Drum, and M.O.P came out during the set and riled the crowd up with “Ante Up”. Setting the table for the evening was Saul Williams equipped with CX Kidtronik, Dragons of Zynth and dancers rocking the V for Vendetta masks. The band Vintage Trouble didn’t seem vintage at all in a post Bruno Mars world; they were live as fuck. Modern Hollywood royalty, the Will Smith Clan, was seen around in the park while their matriarch rocked out with her band Wicked Wisdom. Jean Grae and Mr. Len did what they do best and that’s slay. Dead Prez brought their brand of revolutionary hip-hop (with a healthy side of ignorance) to the festival while Mykki Blanco gender and beat blended for an eager audience.
Big Freedia DEFINITELY made the case on her being the absolute Queen of this twerk shit, she’s been trying to bring that booty bounce to the mainstream for a few years now. While Miley was unfortunately showing her non ass off for the MTV Music Awards less then a mile away at Barclays Center hundreds of aspiring twerk technicians, male and female, were putting her to shame during his set. Trash Talk made hundreds of new believers into the loving community that is the circle mosh pit. Rounding out the evening were DJ sets by Prince Paul and Questlove. However, Day 2 belonged to the old fogeys. Death and Living Colour showed how they inspired thousands of bands (and how they can wipe the 99.8 of them off the stage with ease).