I was completely, entirely stoked to see Dessa live. I’ve been aware of her for about a year and a half and have missed her the other times she’s been to Chicago. Was not going to let this time pass me up. Oddly though I almost did. It wasn’t until last Saturday night that I saw that she would be here. I blame the holidays. So Saturday night I sent out a call to friends and acquaintances and internet people, LET’S GO! By the time everyone had decided to go, they sold out. HA! I was feeling pretty smug in a “sucks to be you” fashion because I was going to see Dessa!
Who is Dessa, you say? Shorty, short, short version – she’s a badass beauty. Ok, little bit longer verison. Dessa is a writer, spoken word artist, singer, rapper, teacher and a member of the Doomtree Collective out of Minneapolis. Her music is personal. Songs of hers are the quiet anthems of understanding that women sing to themselves. You may not relate, but you understand. That’s is one of the things I like about the indie hiphop scene. It’s lyrically relevant to my interests and experiences. I liken them in my mind to service with a snarl.
Last night was a revelation to myself and I think to Dessa herself. She referenced an improv everywhere prank where a group of people showed up to a bands first performance and made it epic, she felt that’s what we were doing for/to her. Her banter was really welcome between her songs as she is REALLY funny. Incredible stage presence and great improv. I found myself completely admiring her. We have a lot of pop princesses, I hate to use that term, and we have a lot of packaging. Here is a very smart woman, emotionally available to us and cracking wise. Her set consisted largely of songs from her album Castor, The Twin. She announced that they had just finished up her newest album and played a couple of really great tracks off of it. I really wish I could convey how self-effacing she was and what a pleasure everyone got from the show.
What I could take away from the crowd was joy. I was fairly close up front so I didn’t catch much of who they all comprised, but they were LOUD. It was really, really great. The energy absolutely flowed between both she and we. Shuba’s is great for that, forgot to mention that’s where the show took place. One of my favorite venues, it’s tiny, no spot is far from stage. Hooks line the walls and coats pile up in a who knows, who cares kind of way. They’ll be there when we get back. I will absolutely go back for Dessa.