Feb 4, 2009

Ani DiFranco @ Enmore Theatre

It's not often that I attend a show and not be familiar with most of the music on offer. It certainly offers a different perspective. So that was Ani DiFranco at the Enmore Theatre on Tuesday night. Of course I knew her reputation and name, but I have hardly listened to much of her output through the years. And to be honest, what I have heard didn't make me a huge fan. So, normally I would not have attended this show. But, when the act concerned is much loved by my much loved then I wanted to go to see what the night could potentially deliver. What it did deliver was a fun night by a dynamic and engaging performer, playing before an enthusiastic and VERY loving audience. I don't think I will be delving deep into her back catalogue anytime soon, but I certainly would not back away from seeing Ani perform live again.

So, there is the image and the stereotype. Ani, feminist, political, revolving sexuality. All her fans are female. That sort of thing. Well, there was a heavy dosage of female love in the room last night, but Ani is far from a cardboard cutout. She is a living, breathing vital human being, who is passionate about her world and the world. Not too long ago she had a baby and only recently did she go back on the road. Well, she didn't show any sign last night of slowing down or mellowing out. She attacks each and every song as if it the first time she has played it and maybe the last time she ever will. Constantly changing guitars to suit the particular song, she really is an expert at her craft. In fact, she is so good, that I think should could easily survive without her 3 backing players on stage. I am sure they are very talented, but I did not find they added a lot to each song. Except Mike the percussionist. He was pretty special.

So, musically what did I gain. To be honest, I think her songs are nice, but not spectacular. Please don't kill me Ani fans. Just my opinion. I think the songs are very rhythmical and drive very hard. But there is not a lot of melody. Or if there is, I am not hearing it especially. And although I found her voice to be powerful and electric, it's not a voice that appeals to my heart. It alerts my heart, but does not break it open. Having said that I did enjoy "Red Letter Year" and "The Atom". In fact I was hoping for more songs off her latest album. Somehow, these newer songs appeal to me more. Of the older ones I did enjoy "Two Little Girls" and the closer "Shameless", which had the whole audience out of their seats and dancing. I think this will be my greatest memory of the night. The response that one person's music can have on an audience. The fact that four walls and some chairs can become a living ampitheatre, simply because of the power of music. Ani DiFranco can do this as well as any musician on the planet. I also loved that my girl loved it and that I was there to see her smile.

Set List (With help from my girl)
Done Wrong
Manhole
Modulation
Red Letter Year
November 4th, 2008
Present/Infant
Napoleon
Splinter (new song)
As Is
Nicotine
The Atom
Way Tight (solo)
Two Little Girls (solo)
Recoil
Gravel
32 Flavors
Shameless

Evolve
Overlap

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