First Avenue presents Dessa with DJ Shannon Blowtorch, MARGRET, and Roy Kinsey
Review and photos by Kate Klaus
It was a commanding night of music, love, and inspiration at First Avenue. Walking into the main room, music was already echoing through the space, at the hands of award winning Minnapolis DJ Shannon Blowtorch. Opening up this powerful night of music was MARGRET, a soulful electronic/indie songwriter, who captivated the audience with an expressive and dynamic set. Next up was Roy Kinsey, the rapper/librarian whose powerful and emotionally charged lyrics riveted the crowd. His set started with a symbolic sage burning on stage, cleansing the space and creating a beautiful scent and peaceful tone for his powerful music and message. He commanded the stage, with his words and stage presence conveying an atmosphere of healing through struggle and strength through connection.
Closing out the night was headliner Dessa. Her performances are a force that can only be completely understood after experiencing. She brings unparalleled power and control juxtaposed with a sweet softness, beauty, humility and wit. She opened up the night with the backing of a beautiful string quartet composed of members of the Minnesota Orchestra and four exceptional vocalists accompanying her masterful solos. Her set, by her own description, was a departure from her trademark rap and hip hop, and tended more toward soulful, with atmospheric tones and melodic string accompaniment, and yet remained every bit as raw, turbulent, and powerful as her previous work. The sold-out crowd at First Avenue was fortunate to get to experience this beauty and power first hand, where the profound energy was sure to be sustained even after the closure of the breathtaking show.