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Ani DiFranco 'rocked our fucking socks off'
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Ani DiFranco 'rocked our fucking socks off'

by James Whitely - SGN Contributing Writer

Ani DiFranco
Moore Theatre
October 24


Ani DiFranco's talent is far-reaching. Sure, she has her legion of concert-going fans, but her music speaks to most anyone. I am consistently - not to mention pleasantly - surprised to hear people mention her and speak about how talented she is, whether or not they consider themselves fans. But on October 24, when she played the Moore Theatre here in Seattle, all her die-hard fans were there, and they loved every minute of the nearly two-hour show.

After the first song, Ani removed her sweater for the performance, which sent the die-hards into a frenzy. She then proceeded to rock our fucking socks off. Ani's energy onstage and in her album recordings is simply unparalleled by any other singer-songwriter.

With her amazing grace on guitar, her somehow technical-yet-simple lyrical style, and backed by familiar band members Todd Sickafoose and Mike Dillon, Ani put on a hell of a show, playing songs that spanned the entirety of her 19-year career, which is only fitting after the release of Cannon (2007).

The opening act, Anias Mitchell, was very good, as well. She played a short selection of songs that demonstrated not only her raw talent, but her ease in varying her playing styles. Mitchell played two rock opera pieces from a project that is still underway, one of which will feature Ani when it is released early next year. Mitchell is signed to Righteous Babe Records, Ani's self-started record label.

One of the most stellar performances of the night had to be Ani's first encore, "Both Hands." This rendition felt like a fine mixture of the new Cannon recording and the original 1990 release. It's so thrilling to hear "Both Hands" live for the first time, as most of Ani's fans had never gotten the chance to before the rerecording for Cannon.

The first track on her first album, released in 1990, "Both Hands" tells the story of a failed relationship of a young person, which now carries an unusual weight coming from a singer-songwriter 19 years later in life. She is now happily married, wildly in love, and a proud mother. Most recording artists cannot claim this unusual time span effect. It's probably safe to say that it leaves not only the fans breathless, but Ani, as well.

Ani played a wealth of new songs, as well as some recent and older ones. Heard that night were "Coming Up" from Not a Pretty Girl (1995), "Swan Dive" from Little Plastic Castle (1998), a fast-paced version of "Garden of Simple" from the double-album Reveling and Reckoning (2001), "Imagine That" and "Grey" also from Reveling and Reckoning, and "78% H20" as well as "Hypnotized" from Reprieve (2006).

Ani played a new and personal rendition of an old labor folk song by 1930s social activist and poet Florence Reese entitled "Which Side Are You On?" Also heard was a new song praising President Obama called "November 4, 2008."

After the release of Cannon, her career retrospect, seeing Ani DiFranco live has become a different experience entirely, one that no die-hard fan will ever want to miss, and one that everyone who knows her music shouldn't miss next time around.

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