This past Sunday, indie rock artist NoSo took the stage at Pie Shop and gave the audience a magnificent show. First off, Pie Shop was a music venue unlike any other we had been to. When we entered, they were selling pie by the slice and by the whole downstairs, which made for the perfect pre-concert dinner. The concert itself took place in a small room reached by ascending a skinny staircase by the front door. Part of what made this experience so exceptional was the intimacy of the venue; the performers reached the stage by walking through the crowd, high-fiving fans as they made their way to the spotlight. The acoustics of the room were fantastic as well, and the whole floor shook with the bass of NoSo’s expert guitar-playing. The lighting setup was simple but effective, drawing the focus of the audience to the music alone.
San Francisco native Asha “BOOMCLAK” Santee opened the show with a series of smooth electronic jams and set the tone for the rest of the night with her talent and charisma. Between songs, she told stories of her past romances that got the crowd laughing. After Santee sang about a period in her life where she kept sleeping with her friends, an audience member screamed that they would love to be Santee’s friend, which the crowd (and Santee) loved. Santee’s crowd engagement didn’t stop there. She frequently joked with audience members and even called some of them up to the stage to be a part of the musical act.
After a brief intermission, NoSo appeared on stage. As soon as they introduced themself and played the first notes of their opening song, the crowd fell silent. NoSo immediately captured the audience’s hearts with their extraordinary talent and candor. They sounded exactly like their studio recordings, if not better. NoSo played straight through their debut album, Stay Proud of Me, saving their first single, “Suburbia,” for the finale. In between songs, NoSo discussed the inspirations behind their album with the crowd. As a transgender artist, they discussed all the complex intersection of emotions they experience from sharing their work publicly – they commented on this after their opening track, “Parasites,” and continued the dialogue throughout the show. Although it is difficult to share their transness with the world, NoSo recognizes how important their work and presence is to helping other transgender individuals accept and love themselves.
After the show, we had the opportunity to meet both performers. Asha Santee gave us free stickers of her 2020 album Ginkgo. NoSo let us take pictures with them and they even signed some coasters we grabbed off the bar! Overall, we had a night that we’ll never forget, and we highly recommend going to a NoSo concert the next time they tour.
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