The rise of Princess Nokia hasn’t been the sort of rocket ship to the sun thing that seems to happen to a lot of artists who release music that goes viral. It’s taken a few years for her to ascend the ranks and become a fan favorite that still isn’t quite on everyone’s radar. Her birthday is in a few days and she came to Chicago on Friday to celebrate early with roughly a thousand loyal followers.
She had just been in town a little over a month prior to this show, and I imagine a lot of the people who caught her set at Metro also came to this free event at House Of Vans. She arrived to the venue late and kept the crowd in anticipation for nearly half an hour before she finally hit the stage. That didn’t curtail the excitement, as the audience exploded at the first sound of her voice.
She took a few minutes out of her time on stage to make some points to the staff about how to treat people of color, queer people, and humans in general. It was nice to hear her speak up, as she’s know to do, but also sad that announcements like this need to be made at all. Every show should be a safe space for people, and too often it’s not. If these PSA’s from the stage do anything to help, then I’m ok sacrificing that time out of the show.
The rest of the night was riotous, with the energy between the stage and the floor pulsing like a heavy metal drummer. 1992 got a lot of play, but she also hit some newer stuff like “Look Up Kid,” “Morphine,” and “Your Eyes Are Bleeding” off the new record A Girl Cried Red.