The usual compliment of hyperventilating teenagers, lesbians in dungarees making a point of kissing each other and random hacks feeling just tad nervous had piled in to the Empire to see and hear the latest instalment of Ani DiFranco genius on a freezing night in January.
Said genius duly appeared and proceeded to rock her way through a great set, largely comprised of new material for her forthcoming album. She seems to be getting more experimental now, totally rearranging some older tracks like Shameless so they sound fresher than ever.
The band has a buzz about it too, with hair dye the order of the evening, bassist Jason Mercer’s hair now black instead of blond; keyboardist Julie has even grown her locks.
The new stuff is not as immediate as some of what went before, but maybe that’s just because we haven’t seen Ani here in London for over a year and we take a moment or two to realise she’s playing. The whole show is again there – the banter, the gorgeous smile, the camaraderie on stage.
Being on the road as she has, it never ceases to amaze me how every one of her shows sound different, fresh and energetic. Ani DiFranco is a dynamo with enough power to light Shepherd’s Bush. Tonight she contented herself with merely raising the roof and the faithful went home well pleased, looking forward to the new album with renewed excitement. What a lady.