Big Free, Big Failure?
May. 02, 2006
Talk circulated about the Big Free Music Festival reaching capacity before headliners Three 6 Mafia played, but there was plenty of room for all aspiring pimps and playas.
Earlier in the evening, attendees enjoyed many inflatable attractions, such as jousting, boxing and an obstacle course. Battle of the Bands winners Johnny O and the Jerks opened the main stage, followed by punk rockers The F*Bombs. Next up on the main stage was country act Tracy Lawrence, whose musical styling stood in stark contrast with the preceding punk bands and the upcoming Three 6 Mafia.
Around 8 p.m., Fundamental Elements, self-proclaimed "100% Blue-Eyed Soul," played the main stage, for an underage, not-too-excited crowd. About three under-agers and a hippie danced to the music, but much of the crowd was just securing its spots for the next act to hit the main stage: Three 6 Mafia.
Savage Republic was the last to play the smaller KCOU/88.1 FM stage. The band was pseudo-jungle ambient rock that played more noise than music. Backs of many in the crowd and periodic screams for Three 6 greeted the 30-somethings from Los Angeles. Many attendees helped themselves to free hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers. The free foods whet the crowd's appetite for some hardcore Memphis rap.
The under-18 crowd was out in full force for the 18-and-up Three 6 Mafia show. On Saturday night at the Hearnes Center, you couldn't raise your pimp cup without bumping into someone still in high school.
Still, the anticipation was palpable in the minutes before Three 6 finally took the stage.
Aside from the high school kids, the spectators comprised not only men with backwards hats who knew all the words and were fans of the fist pump, but also hipsters in tight pants who refused to acknowledge their ironic enjoyment of the show. The scent of marijuana permeated the crowd and many cheered when Three 6 Mafia asked if anyone had any weed.
Some audience members enjoyed themselves a little too much and at a couple of points during the show, Juicy J and DJ Paul had to exhort people to stop fighting because "there are too many girls in here." Then they launched into songs including "Hit a Muthafucka."
At one point, DJ Paul and Juicy J announced that MU was the "crunkest university" they had ever visited. Understandably, the crowd went wild.
The crowd also went berserk when the pair offered to throw their chains and grills into the audience at numerous points during the set, but this did not occur. Juicy J did make good on his promise to give someone his shirt but only after he threatened to wipe his ass with it.
Three 6 Mafia did not disappoint, playing all the crowd pleasers, such as "Slob on My Knob" and "Weak Azz Bitch." Sound clips of gunshots punctuated the end of each song.
The group closed its hour-long set with hits "Stay Fly" and "Poppin' My Collar." But the Oscar-winning track, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" was not heard, nor did they bring Oscar with them.