Courtesy of Pitchfork

Indie-rock singer songwriter Indigo De Souza performed a toned down, acoustic set at The Hub, in UC Santa Barbara’s University Center, on May 11. 

Known for her unique instrumentals and introspective lyrics, the North Carolina-born artist rose to fame in 2017 with her debut EP “Boys.” Since then, she has released three studio albums, her most recent being “All of This Will End,” which was released April 2023. 

The concert opened with musical artist Billy Lemos performing his first show in four years. Lemos is an accomplished producer who started out collaborating with SoundCloud artists and working his way up to working with performers such as Omar Apollo and Still Woozy. 

As his set opened up, the crowd seemed unfamiliar with his work. People stood apprehensively and voiced their confusion amongst each other as Lemos bobbed his head to the opening beats of his set, with an audience member asking, “Who is this guy again?”

The moment of hesitancy was brief. Standing behind a table and equipped with just a laptop and soundboard, the Chicago-based artist successfully won the audience over.

Lemos delivered a unique set with bold tracks and digitally-engineered mixes. The set was accompanied with a captivating light show, flashing in time with the techno-rhythmic beat. His showstopping performance concluded with a roar of applause from the audience, making his name known amongst the Santa Barbara community and perfectly setting the stage for the main event. 

As the stage crew began adjusting the platform set-up, there were murmurs of excitement amongst the audience. Fans exchanged what songs they hoped would be performed, singing their favorite lyrics with each other and tiptoeing to get the best view of the stage. 

De Souza walked on stage and the crowd went wild. 

As the cheers slowly faded, De Souza approached the mic and shared to the crowd that she was currently fighting a sinus infection and would be playing a tuned-down acoustic set as a result. While tuning her guitar, she playfully said, “I’m here for an hour, so if you guys have anything you wanna talk about … I’m here.”

That offer perfectly captured the vibe of the intimate set. The hour-long performance was filled with moments of pure connection between De Souza and the audience, displayed through short conversations between songs.

De Souza opened with “Not My Body,” a track from her album released earlier this year titled “All of This Will End.” This was the perfect start to an incredible set list, almost hypnotizing the audience. As she delicately sang, “I want to be a redwood tree / Feel desert sand below my feet,” members of the crowd swayed in unison. 

The acoustic rendition of “Kill Me” was hauntingly beautiful. This was the first time De Souza had performed the song without her band, and she only performed it due to a request from the crowd. With the track stripped down to just her and her guitar, it was clear that her sinus infection wasn’t hindering her incredible vocal ability. De Souza powerfully belted into the mic, capturing the emotional complexity the song inhabits. 

Her genuine love and respect for her music made for an intimate connection between artist and audience. Despite begs from the audience for her to play “Take Off Ur Pants,” arguably De Souza’s most popular track, the artist refused. Her reason was incredibly introspective, revealing “I feel kinda weird playing it because I was sixteen when I wrote it, and now I’m 25.” Her comment offered a moment of self-reflection for both De Souza and the crowd. 

She also had many moments of self-disclosure, deepening her already-close relationship with the fans. When she mistook a cheer for a boo, De Souza silenced the crowd and sheepishly asked why, adding “I’m so fragile; you’re gonna break me down.” After the audience member reassured her of their adoration, she smiled with a sense of relief and said, “We’re okay. We’re both okay. We’re alive. Everything’s chill.”

After much pleading from the audience, De Souza gave in and ended the night with her first ever solo performance of “Younger & Dumber,” which also serves as the closing track to “All of This Will End”. The performance felt raw and personal. Before playing, she asked the crowd not to record. “If it’s embarrassing, let it be our secret.” 

Yet, the finale was the opposite of embarrassing and was actually the highlight of De Souza’s performance. Fans sang along with the artist as she delicately revealed “Sometimes, I just don’t wanna be alone / And it’s not ‘cause I’m lonely / It’s just ‘cause I get so tired of filling the space all around me.”

When the song came to a close, the crowd erupted into wild applause. De Souza shyly smiled and remained still for a moment, facing the crowd full of diehard and new fans as they celebrated her performance before unplugging her guitar and exiting the stage. 

De Souza didn’t hold back from the crowd or attempt to woo them. She was simply herself, something emphasized with the absence of her band and just the electric guitar accompaniment. De Souza’s night of introspection, revelation and reflection will go down as one of the most intimate performances in UCSB’s The Hub.

This appeared in the May 18th Daily Nexus printed edition.