Last night’s show by Minnesota indie hip-hop luminary Dessa was one of the more improbable shows in recent memory. Dessa was sick, for one thing, to the point of nearly passing out during the show and needing to take a one-song “inhaler break.” Also, a few days ago, her band’s gear was stolen after a show in Buffalo, including five Macbooks. Though an Indiegogo fundraising campaign came through with $30,000 in donations within two days to help the band, the group has yet to fully recover in terms of reconstructing their set. “Our sounds got disappeared” and so the set “may not turn out how you, or we, expect it to,” she warned at the beginning of the evening.
While that was true, it made the show that much more of an experience, getting to see an artist work under difficult conditions and come through with a pretty tremendous show. Drawing heavily from this year’s Parts of Speech, Dessa’s band was on point, and she herself seemed to be able to both sing and rap as if completely healthy. Neither sickness nor robbery can detract from one of Dessa’s greatest gifts—-an onstage charisma that’s infectious enough to actually get an introverted weeknight D.C. crowd (many of whom seemed to be Minnesota transplants) to occasionally dance.
Check out the full slideshow from the show.