Ani diFranco’s musical appearance in our coastal, cool and radical city of Brighton had been long anticipated. On the night of 18 January, the queue outside Komedia met the expectations for a very promising evening.
Not that it needed much warming, as Ani diFranco would do the warming and much more, but Jim Morey entertained the distracted crowd with his old folk English songs.
This talkative and sweet-voiced award-winning folk artist prepared the crowd as they got closer to the stage for Ani. Ani came on stage for what would prove to be an intimate and enlightening evening of music, comedy and above all, sharing.
Admittedly nervous for having been absent for a while due to her new mommy status, Ani graced us with “Anticipate”, a song released in 1991, that got an automatic reaction from the screaming crowd.
Even if she seemed too small for her several guitars, don’t let it fool you. She worked them with such skill that it was hard not to feel hypnotized.
Along with her guitars, which almost seem like an extension of her body for how easily she does it, her voice didn’t let anyone down.
This wasn’t your usual sing-along gig. Maybe that was because the fans didn’t know all the lyrics or maybe because they were too afraid of not being able to breathe in all she has to offer.
Many of the tracks played were from the most recent album ‘Red Letter Year’ from 2008 and from her upcoming album, which will be out in April 2011.
Her set also included the songs ‘Both hands’ from her debut and self/entitled album, released in 1990 and ‘Swan dive’ from her 1998 album ‘Little Plastic Castle’.
Her activist heart spoke and sang out loud that night. Before the encore her final song was ‘Which Side Are You On?’, a re-working of a union song, written by Florence Reece in 1931.
Florence was a wife of a union organizer for mine workers and a supporter of the second wave of miner strikes in the early 70s.
Ani delivered an inspiring performance. Her stage presence is remarkable and her voice untouchable.
I dare say that nowadays Ani probably is one of the few artists that sound better live than in her albums.
What you see is what you get. It’s a one woman show and a very powerful one.