I made a promise a long time ago that I would never let myself return to the Dance Cave again. With a reputation for being a little trashy, this small club on the floor above Lee’s Palace has never been high on my list of places to go, but hey, exceptions must be made sometimes and in this circumstance, it might have been the most appropriate place possible for the concert I saw on Wednesday.
Walking in the door, the feel was more club night than concert — the DJ playing from a rig set up at the center/back of the stage to small groups of people dressed to go out dancing waiting for the show to start. About 45 minutes after the doors opened we were treated to a hip hop showcase. Three different rappers played short sets and while the first two up, Duch Dillinger and Rezzi, were definitely talented, with good production that got the people front, center and moving. It was the 3rd act, Godz, who I thought really stood out, with his arm in a cast, 90s throwback beats, and blurringly fast lyrics, he even presented a political message to the crowd, mentioning the tense climate in the U.S. before relinquishing the microphone.
As we all waited for the headliner to take the stage, plumes of sweet smelling smoke began to rise out of the crowd as chants of “Debbie! Debbie!” got louder and louder. Then, right at the moment when I started to wonder if she was going to show up, Lil Debbie sauntered onto the stage followed by an entourage – her DJ, a dancer, and three guys who stood at the back of the stage and watched. The set itself was ridiculous. Lil Debbie has a reputation for speaking her mind and this was no exception, throwing in stories editorials and facts of life in between songs. She even dedicating her single Slot Machine to her deceased dog Oliver. The scene seemed almost surreal at times, like I had passed through the looking glass. As her dancer twerked her way around the stage, the entourage watched on awkwardly, standing towards the back, not quite sure what to do with themselves. This seemed to affect the audience too, under the yellow and red lights fights broke out and pouty-faced girls danced in groups like would in a nightclub. Ruling over this tea party was the mad hatter herself.
While I find I can’t really argue with Lil Debbie’s critics who say she’s trashy and there were some definite issues (like an echo on the mic throughout the show that I found really distracting, among other things) I think her over the top nature and “I don’t give a fuck” attitude made the live show a ton of fun to watch. Everyone needs a bit of trash in their lives.
Follow updates from Lil Debbie here.
Photos by Benjamin Telford (bentelfordphoto) | Review by Tristan Johnston