The first time I saw the name Ani DiFranco it was on a poster on the wall in front of Lou’s Records in Encinitas, CA. It was 1995 and the poster was for Dilate. It had Ani crouched down in a corner with her face hidden by multi-colored braided hair. She looked pretty punk rock, so I bought the album. I did not know I wasn’t supposed to like her. I didn’t know anything about her. But when the first song came out my car speakers, I was in love. ‘Fuck you and you’re untouchable face, and fuck you for existing in the first place’. From Untouchable Face through the Suzanne Vega-bashing Napolean through the last line of Joyful Girl…this was an angry folk-punk album to the core. I loved it!
The next year Ani released Living in Clip. This double live album is what really brought Ani to the mainstream and introduced the world to what Ani does best…perform her material in live! You got to know the quirky folk singer behind the image.
But the image is still bigger than the girl. As a heterosexual male, just saying the name Ani DiFranco insites chuckles or outright questions about sexuality. This is pretty ridiculous. Sure, Ani stands up for LGBT community and is very outspoken and political when it comes to women’s rights…but if you have really listened to her, she is not anti-male (in fact she married one) and she really stands for the rights of all beings. And c’mon people…she is one of the great lyricists of our time.
Ani is also punk rock. She is way more punk rock than most punk bands today. She says whatever she wants to say no matter who she pisses off, she puts out all her material on her own label and has never signed with a major, she is DIY to the core and she tours incessivley to build her fan base.
So, I am a heterosexual male and I am a huge Ani fan. I will be honest and admit I haven’t been able to get into any of her material past the 90s, but on Thursday night I brought my wife and her friend to see Ani at the Ogden and she is still impressive! Even the new stuff sounded great live. Her stories are still quirky as hell, even if they have changed from political banter to stories about her baby and meeting Prince. She’s still got a mouth on her. And she still rocks the fuck out!
It’s been 13 years since I first saw Ani with my sister and she’s still just as good, if not better. You go girl!
Not Angry Anymore
Which Side Are You On? (Pete Seeger cover)
New Unreleased Song
Names and Dates and Times
Unreleased New Song
If You’re Not
Utah Phillips poem