Concert: Ashnikko at Kemba Live!

Mostly filled with 20-somethings who identify as female, audience members would not let up this past Monday at Kemba Live! in Columbus, OH.

Two high energy performers took a Monday night in Columbus, OH and turned it into a party from another world. The first of which was Audrey Nuna. This 24-year-old solo artist had such a long introductory DJ set that the photographers in the pit had already been escorted out before she entered the stage. It was aural bliss for the audience though. They were singing along before she emerged from the shadows. Bearded people in crop tops and dresses were cheering and jumping along to the heavy heavy bass of Audrey Nuna’s music. The stage had a large … well, the consensus was, “A large inflatable alien shark” for Ashnikko’s performance. Even with props for the headliner’s performance on stage, Audrey owned it all for 40 minutes.

Ashnikko’s second album Weedkiller came out on August 25th. The Wastewoods’ realm, derived from video games, classic anime, and fantasy literature, created for this album extends far past the lyrics of each track. It is further revealed cohesively in music videos, album artwork, comic books, and stage performances. For this, Ashnikko has created more than a stage persona, but an entire realm with which she can play and hide and be otherworldly. She is free to dance and make statements about the real world around her. She can have fun complaining and shaking her fist, without being taken too seriously.

She and her back up dancers performed 18 songs with her two hardest hitting songs “Weedkiller” and “Daisy” rounding out the night. She is somehow humble yet aggressive. She draws attention with the fantasy to get her real world message out. When some people are uncomfortable with an aspect of their being, they may make light of it with a self deprecating nod, so as not to be taken too seriously. Ashnikko’s tangled mess of threads, ripped hose, and uncommon makeup held a strong juxtaposition with the flirtatious, revealing, sexual stage performance and provocative lyrics, so as not to be taken too seriously.

This show was a PG-13 fantasy burlesque show (and lap dance if you happened to be in the front row). Songs like “Slumber Party”, “Halloweenie I – IV” and “Clitoris the Musical” beg to be taken with an entire shaker of salt. There is however, much more to her lyrics that should be taken seriously. On the surface, it is vulgar, imaginative, disturbing, and beautiful. She may be telling a story about her world through the experiences of a fictional character, but digging deeper you can find commentary for injustices she has witnessed in her lifetime and a rage she can express on stage.

After recording music for 6 years she has finally come into her voice with the creation of this album and the fully fleshed out land of Weedkiller. Now, with her first visit to Columbus, OH, she sold out Kemba Live! with an indoor capacity of 2,200. This realm she has created for her to be whatever she wants has also become a safe space for her audience to feel accepted and empowered, if only for one night.

Photos, words, and interview by Harry Acosta — Website | Instagram | Facebook

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Setlist from 2023 WEEDKILLER tour