June 26--Minneapolis hip-hop artist Dessa made a stop at the Electric Fetus in Duluth on Tuesday for an in-store performance in support of "Parts of Speech," the album she released Tuesday.
The four-song show, followed by a meet-and-greet, grapes and corn chips, was part of a mini-tour of in-state record stores that would include stops in St. Cloud and Minneapolis later in the day.
Electric Fetus staff turned off the album, which was playing on the store's speakers, for the live show that included her band and started just after noon for about 75 fans.
Dessa performed "Call Off Your Ghost," "The Man I Knew," "Annabelle" and, for her finale, the self-described "boasty rap song," "Fighting Fish."
She expressed surprise at the size of the crowd and, in a reference to the number of photos and videos being taken, referenced TMZ.
"This must be the most well-documented in-store performance," she joked.
Mario Stokes drove up from Minneapolis with friends to see the 20-minute performance.
"I've never seen her live, by herself," he said, but he had seen her perform as part of the hip-hop collective Doomtree. "Her style is so different. She appeals to a way broader audience. It's amazing when artists do something intimate like this."
Em Westerlund of Duluth flashed a copy of the new album on red vinyl.
"It's really awesome to hear a woman singing and rapping about the things she does," she said.
"Parts of Speech" is a 12-track album that includes a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm Going Down." The Minneapolis Star Tribune called the album "dark" -- a 7 on the darkness scale if Elliott Smith is a 9.
In-store performances at the Electric Fetus are becoming more of a regular event -- especially as the Duluth music scene has gotten more vibrant, according to manager Carrie Brown.
The quick-hit stop had included a snag for the artist, who also publishes poetry, and her band.
Hint: Dessa gave a shout-out to AAA.
"The first thing I did, fast as I could, is lock my keys in the car," she said of arriving in Duluth.
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