CONCERT REVIEW: Dessa @ The Independent in San Francisco

Dessa performed at The Independent in San Francisco on Sunday, May 6, 2018. Photo credit: Kris Comer.

Monakr, a pop band based out of Chicago, is a band with such amazing charisma and talent. I feel like they are a band that will be headlining very very soon. They love what they do and love who they meet. The three provide this amazing synergy experience that I haven’t seen in a band as an opener. This band’s ability to perform for the audience is such an amazing experience. I felt as though I was seeing a concert from a more seasoned artist, and would have been happy with only their work.

They are a band who is connected. They know themselves and who they articulate. They are a band that will be on the radar in the next few years because of their talent and hard work. The vocals had this deep, dark, and seasoned experience to it. I felt as though I was experiencing a band who knew exactly who they were and who they wanted to portray.

Monakr will blow our mind if your give them a chance and I highly recommend giving them a lot of a chances.

My evolution as an adult human has been intertwined with Dessa.  Eleven years ago in a Minneapolis pub, I first saw her with the girl I was dating and her twin sister. It was trivia night and we were looking for something to keep away the midwinter blues. Dessa the philosopher, the Minneapolis hip hop queen, the author that saw just a little more than the average; was the MC and boy did she command the eight trivia participants. No matter the size of the audience, Dessa performs as though the whole world is watching because she knows they are. It was on one of those trivia nights that I got a call from my mom and I was brave enough to say “Mom I like girls” and even more amazingly, Mom was ok with it. Mom later married my photographer wife and I under an Idaho summers night.

Eleven years later, several albums, different states, and a marriage lead me to last Sunday, May 6, 2018, at The Independent in San Francisco. I was there with my wife the photographer and her sister the observer. It was a dream come true seeing the fruition of the hard work Dessa has put in over these past years. With every album release her vocals have gotten stronger and her lyrics have stayed razor edged.

Dessa is meant for the spot light. She is strong and smart and hell yeah she is more than capable. Her ability to harbor the energy in the room and channel that energy into a performance is something like Shirley Manson and Courtney Love rolled into poetic hip hop mastery.

The west coast tour of “Chime” was towards the last but you would have thought it was the first stop with the amount of energy that was presented. One of the most unusual and intelligent parts of the show was that Monakr was the band for Dessa. I have never seen this done but it makes so much sense with the musical talent of Monakr. They are able to keep up with the woman who made a hip hop show with the Minneapolis Orchestra! They even performed a spoken word dialog from one of her essays towards the end of the show about interactions between two potential lovers.

Dessa is not just a musical artist; she is an artist in every true form. Personally she has shown how a dynamic performance can change the amount of buy in that the audience receives.  She is a one woman, command show that demands the audience follow her lead while understanding her message. She is a representation of women empowering themselves and those around her.

Dessa has a rhythm and a soul to her style that draws in the audience. She is smart and funny and asks you to reach more into her artistic box.  Case in point “..tell patient zero he can have his rib back.. “ from her new album Chime. This line is such a poetic expression of talent that it was fitting that the band Monakr backed her up.  Lines like this are a standard of the music Dessa produces.

Dessa continues to inspire and provoke thoughts of profound enlightenment. She was able to convert my wife and sister in law to fans due to her unrelenting enthusiasm. Her ability to enlighten the masses with modern methods of philosophy and biohacking, while still remaining cool as fuck, shows that she is the next generation of Minnesotan musical artists.

Review written by Shauna Sullivan.  Photographs by Kris Comer.