Monday night the Queen of the High Desert came to Highland Park and treated an audience to cuts from her sophomore album, Dessert Rock. Jesika von Rabbit calmly, yet assertively took over The Hi Hat after an aggressive opening from Enola Fall and Pretty, prior to the night’s closer, Outside Animals. With little direct communication, von Rabbit orchestrated her movements through her Roland Linear Sampler, thanking and cuing the crowd’s applause throughout the set, charming along with her wit. Backed by a pair of dancers who played with various outfits, von Rabbit’s controlled madness reflected on stage in a magical wave of electronic rock.
Upbeat, twisted and animated, von Rabbit’s adenoidal vocals took shape to each of the many shades of the night. Psychedelic licks were adored on “Innuendo” as the more known, upbeat track, “Calypso Facto” seemed to bring familiar nods. A slight change in aroma occurred by the 4th song, “Going Down,” which seemed to be filled with more layers live. Dark waves washed the venue with a slight lull that was twisted beneath von Rabbit’s keys. Once again bringing out her entourage of rabbits, this time doused in pink (and at one moment sporting iconic rabbit heads), the fantasy was brought to life for the playful jabs of “Palm Springs.”
Von Rabbit’s control and showmanship was the true key player of the night. The smallest of details played a role in her performance, which clearly reflected in her work on and off the stage. There seemed to be little distinction between the character and musician, which in this case seemed to be a blessed fusion, once again hailing to the notion of von Rabbit’s control. Towards the end von Rabbit nodded at vinyl sale, reiterating slyly “…it’s called ‘dessert rock’ not to be confused with desert rock for those who can’t spell.” Clinching the night with the rustic musings of “My Medicine,” von Rabbit left an impression of a true artist that aches to be heard, watched, and listened as she continues to grow.
More photos from the night. All by Martin Santacruz Jr.