"Vockah's raunchy lyrics have a gospel-like passion, a burning, defiant pride. It was "just" dance party music, but it was life-affirming…My SXSW had been redeemed at the very last moment…" -Michael Azzerad, 2010
Vockah Redu was one of the very last artists I saw at SXSW, and he was also the best. My friends had caught an afternoon set by the New Orleans Sissy Bounce-r at Beerland, and their breathless enthusiasm had me utterly convinced that I had to see Redu's set later that night at the Emo's indoor stage. They were eager to see him for the second time in one day, and I can't say I blame them—Vockah Redu's performance was one of the most energetic and ridiculous spectacles I've seen in a long, long time.
Admittedly, he danced more than he rapped, but that wasn't the point: the point was to engage, impress, and exult. Backed by four booty-popping gays in jeggings, Redu tapped into a formidable internal reservoir of boundless liveliness, tossing his fro about and spitting out aggro dub-style scatting. He contorted his body, posed theatrically, writhed on the floor, and willed the crowd into frenzied participation. His set had at least three false endings—by design—which seemed to sate a crowd that, high on endorphins, lusted for an encore.
It was weird, it was wild, and it was the most fun I think I had all week. Dave Halegua of Olympia band Christmas traded one of their new full-lengths for Redu's demo CD. Through the magic of filesharing, I've been bumping it for the past couple days now. It's a tight disc, but doesn't come anywhere close to approximating the experience of his live show. Here's a standout cut from the demo that gives a good indication of how Redu's call-and-response with the audience plays out: