REVIEW: Isabel Pless Returns to Boston for Cafe 939 Performance

We should probably drink more water, we should probably fix our posture…and listen to emerging singer-songwriter Isabel Pless. Friends, family, and fans, who have already discovered Pless as an essential listen, joined the Wellesley College grad for an intimate show at Berklee’s The Red Room @ Cafe 939 in Boston. 

Photo Credit: Amelia Cordischi

Vivi Rincon’s guitar strums and poetry warmed up the crowd. The recent Berklee grad performed top streamed songs like “if we lived on the moon” and un-released singles including “Girls Like You.” Vivi also performed her emotional, un-released track “The Summit,” which feels like a matured iteration of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” She dubbed it her most personal yet as it deals with recovery and relapse. 

The obligatory sea of cell phones was notably absent from her performance. Each audience member seemed captivated by and in the moment. That charm continued on into Isabel Pless’ set. 

Photo Credit: Amelia Cordischi

Like Vivi, Isabel is a poet. Her relatable and melancholic lyrics speak to anxious twenty-somethings just trying to navigate life. 

Isabel has gained a notable TikTok following of 114k and growing. With that kind of success often comes spiteful basement dwellers who troll comment sections. For Isabel, one of those comments appeared on a YouTube short. “Out of all places, you are going to harass me on a YouTube short?” she said, recognizing the irony. Her response was her “angry song,” “Little Life,” which can be heard on her Bad Luck Letting You Go EP.  

Photo Credit: Amelia Cordischi

Since she was 12 years old, music has been a cathartic outlet for those types of complicated emotions. Following a move to Nashville, Isabel was feeling both excited and nervous, so she turned to her guitar and wrote “Isabel,” a comforting message to herself.  

An apparent, avid movie watcher, Isabel also revealed that “Jude Law” was infact written after a viewing of The Holiday and “Bechdel Test” came from a realization that Disney/Pixar’s Cars miserably fails at representing women in a non-sexist, non-stereotypical way. 

While the crowd listened as Isabel’s stories became intertwined with theirs, Bostonians on the other side of the city were watching Drake perform at the TD Garden. “Thank you for picking the superior rapper,” she joked as she wrapped up her set. 

Rapper or folk artist, Isabel Pless is one to watch!