Live Review: Ani Difranco

feb. 26• mt. baker theatre

It is no surprise that the show Ani DiFranco played at the Mount Baker Theatre was packed full of strong willed women, folk enthusiasts and a few little babes. As the lights dimmed and we all scrambled to our seats, opening act Jenny Scheinman began plucking her fiddle.
The audience was immediately captivated by her blend of banjo-style plucking, her delicate bowing technique and her clear, crisp voice that tied us all to the moment and prepared us for Ani’s performance.
For all of the long-time fans, Ani DiFranco began the show by jumping into her set (literally). She came onto the stage in high-gear, strumming and bouncing and delivering one of her well-known and well loved songs “Anticipate.” Backing her were two extremely talented musicians, Todd Sickafoose on stand up bass and Terence Higgins on drums. Because Mount Baker Theatre is a sit-down establishment, we all bounced and rocked in our seats, tapping our feet and clapping at every opportunity. Ani DiFranco pulled out a lot of her songs of the past and a few off her newest album. Despite her more mellow recent albums, her slap style rhythmic playing and political/environmental/social stance was woven throughout the old and new. Some of her fan favorites she shared were “Paper Dolls,”  “Promiscuity,” and “Mariachi.”
The highlight of the evening was her song, “Allergic,” which is about being allergic to water. The room was silent and no matter where you sat, you could feel the depth of loneliness while relating to each character in the song; the one explaining constant discomfort, the person questioning how anyone could live in that state of being, and the allergic one saying that they are just doing the best that they can.
Picking up on the angst of those who wanted to dance in front of the stage and the frustration of those who were politely sitting in their seats wanting to see Ani’s face instead of someone’s rump in their face, Ani DiFranco gave us all “permission” to dance on her last song. The room quickly stood up and we all got a chance to wiggle it out!
The encore call began to fill the room the moment she started saying her goodbyes. With our ceaseless calling, she returned to the stage and played “Which Side Are You On?”, the Pete Seeger song that titled her newest album. Besides catering to her long time fans, playing songs we all knew, Ani DiFranco created some new fans by delivering a high-energy, somehow personal, incredible show! We will all be waiting for that wry smiling, tiny folk singer to come through Bellingham again, but until then you can find where she’s roaming around the world, belting out her folk-pop, politically powered songs at
–Misty Flowers