Ani DiFranco at the Winter Garden Theatre, Toronto – Concert review

April 23, 2012

Ani DiFranco at Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Autralia - photo Danny Crombie, Music ViceAni DiFranco back in 2009 when we last reviewed her, Down Under… my my, aren’t we international?

The Gig: Ani DiFranco
Where: Winter Garden Theatre, Toronto, Canada
When: 21 April 2012
In One Word: Powerful

Saturday night marked two key milestones in my musical education. Firstly, and most importantly, I was given an opportunity to experience a live performance by Ani DiFranco and secondly, I got to see her at the Winter Garden Theatre. The Winter Garden theatre is a gem of a venue: theatre-style with assigned seating, an intimate atmosphere and good acoustics. Think of a scaled down Massey Hall with a potpourri theme (Ms. DiFranco’s words not mine); perfect for her scaled down, solo acoustic show.

I consider myself well-versed musically but after seeing Ms. DiFranco’s powerful performance I realised that even having been to Lilith Fair (the first one!) I have until now, missed out on one of the greatest female performers out there. It’s hard not to compare Ani DiFranco’s musical style to Patti Smith, Chrissie Hinde, and even Joni Mitchell with her willingness to voice frank opinions on social and political issues in her songs.  She is a throwback to that era, but oh so needed now as few of her contemporaries do the same. With the recent debates on women’s reproductive rights both in the U.S. and Canada, Ms. DiFranco keeps her ear to the ground, allowing her music to maintain a relevancy even some 20 years after she first started out. Her newest release Which Side Are You On? continues in that tradition with an added feeling of happiness reflected in songs like “Albacore” and “Mariachi”.

For close to two hours, Ani DiFranco thrashed her guitars, sang her politically charged lyrics and inserted a poetic interlude in what was an almost flawless set. She has loyal fans and plays for them; both appreciative of the symbiotic relationship – an audience in tune with the artist’s growth and the artist who listens and delivers the goods.

© Dee Dee Duric, Music Vice

Internet link: Ani DiFranco

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