Concert Review: Nicky Da B at Building 16 in Providence, RI (9/27/12)

Concert Review: Nicky Da B at Building 16 in Providence, RI (9/27/12)

“Express yourself. Express yourself. Release the glow. Attack the floor. And work it low.”  – Nicky Da B, “Express Yourself”

Sizzling at the edge of today’s independent music scene comes bounce – the booty-clapping, big-beat bravura by way of New Orleans.

Birthed from the Crescent City’s club scene (and with deeper roots in African call-and-response), bounce is musical crack. It’s distilled and cut up to create music with just the most energetic and frenetic bits.

But while much of the musical vanguard has yet to fully embrace bounce – Critics call it overly-simplistic and vulgar, both of which are true – there is a growing appetite for this unique style and a growing audience for its chaotic and cathartic live shows.

Book-ended by two uniformly dressed dancers, Nicky Da B strikes an interesting image for a burgeoning music sensation. His hair is cut close, faux-hawk style, dyed a dark pink, just bright enough to be visible, but certainly noticeably pink and definitely awesome.

With little in the way of introduction or instruction, his show begins and the crowd – almost instinctively – knows what to do. When the massive beats hit, the collective height of the audience gets cut in half.  Hands are placed on knees, speaker stacks, the floor as copious booty shaking abounds.

Whoever coined the term “bounce” found the perfect descriptor.

Soon, the mammoth, Diplo-produced “Express Yourself” rings out and there is a massive, manic spike in the energy level. Limbs are interchangeable and – as expected – booty bouncing abounds.

Tracks like “All Night If You Let Me” and “I Be Strokin’ (Fuck Like You Dance)” leave little to the imagination, but more than simply overly-sexualized bangers (though they are that), there is a confidence and certain come-as-you-are positivity behind it. See, Nicky Da B also belongs to the sub-genre called sissy bounce, the gay-friendly, sex-positive micro-movement that gives songs like “Express Yourself” an even more potent punch.

So as his set winds to a close, and Nicky calls out “I’m not a freak/ I’m just a little nasty,” the crowd dutifully repeats and it moves beyond catchy sloganeering – it becomes something more significant, more hopeful, and downright more fun.

We are left sweaty, smiling, and spent, with ringing ears and the ringing rejoinder, “Express yourself.” Because there’s a little bounce in all of us.

Photo credit: Mikey Wally

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