Review: Anna Wise at U Street Music Hall
Anna Wise has one of those special auras you find yourself immediately drawn to. When she walked on stage Friday evening at U Street Music Hall, greeted by a restless and steamy all-ages crowd, the energy in the room immediately shifted to Anna. She politely informed the crowd that she’d be looping herself and promised the song would eventually start, we’d just have to be patient. She held the crowd’s attention as she looped herself and a palpable sense of anticipation hung in the air. As she turned to the crowd and sang the opening lyrics to “Coconuts,” a slow burning track off of The Feminine Act II, she immediately connected with the crowd, unafraid to make intense eye contact with people, forcing them to be fully immersed in the music.
Her focus was so sharp that it seemed to make some people uncomfortable, but this did not phase her as she continued to hold a gaze with as many people as she could. Even if those watching her performance that night weren’t there to see her, Anna gave them no choice but to pay attention. Midway through her set, Wise took moment to thank Kendrick Lamar everything that has transpired for her since he discovered her on the internet in 2011. Wise won a Grammy in 2015 for her work on “These Walls” from Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly and said that without the cosign of Kendrick, she wouldn’t have been able to remain the independent artist that she has been for all of these years. Wise then went on to perform her own version of the Grammy winning song.
Wise also took a moment to tell the crowd that “women deserve more orgasms” before playing her song, “Precious Possession” which she explained plays during a scene in the Netflix series, “Dear White People” in which a woman is getting head. People were a bit hesitant to do so, but by the time she was done talking about it Anna had the crowd cheering for more female orgasms. “BitchSlut” was massive live and left me feeling empowered, especially during the chorus when there was a call and response between Wise and the crowd of “If I say no I’m a bitch/say yes I’m a slut.” Wise closed her set with “Go,” an anthem about letting go of a toxic relationship and danced her way through the crowd.