Show Review: Ani Difranco and Animal Prufrock at the Showbox, Seattle 4/16/11
The final stop on Ani Difranco’s spring tour in Seattle was, for me, like stepping into some sort of time warp. A little over a decade ago, I saw Bitch & Animal opening for Ani Difranco in Amherst, Massachusetts. More than 10 years later, I found myself on the other side of the country, witnessing Animal jump around on stage and triumphantly sing about “The best cock on the block” again.
A sold out crowd of people 21 and older packed the club, and I wondered why this wasn’t taking place in a larger venue. As I looked around, I saw there were many more women than men in attendance, and many women were canoodling with each other. I relished the opportunity to be in such a fabulous crowd of babes. They knew the songs, they had smiles on their faces, and they were ready for fun.
Animal Prufrock came out first and riled everyone up with an amazing display of showmanship, beating on bongos until her glasses fell of her face, running all over the stage, and doing a call and response of “D to the I to the L to the D to the O.” She got the ladies bouncing up and down with songs in which she reveled in her trans-wonderfuless, like “Boy Girl Wonder,” and made them swoon as she sang “I Like You” and the adorably seductive “Voglio.” Goodness, what a stud! Such undeniable charisma!
Ani Difranco came out and was in good spirits. Her voice sounded amazing, the best I’ve heard it sound in years — which was surprising, since it was the last stop on her tour. She treated the crowd to several new songs, including politically charged songs such like “J,” which focuses on evil oil tycoons, and “Amendment,” her strongest statement on abortion and women’s rights since her 1990 track “Lost Woman Song.” She sang, “If you don’t like abortion, then don’t have an abortion, and teach your children how they can avoid them.”
When a member of the audience shouted out requesting that she play another new one, “Albacore,” she said, “I guess I’m in the right tuning for that…” and went ahead and played it. My personal favorite of the new songs was “If You’re Not,” a song that stated, “If you’re not getting happier as you get older…then you’re fucking up.” Indeed, Ani, indeed.
In addition to the new songs, she played several from her canon including “Untouchable Face” and “Napoleon.” The crowd chimed in on the chorus of each, delightedly shouting everyone’s favorite expletive, “fuck” (or in the case of, “Napoleon,” “fucking”) — as loud as they possibly could.
She closed out her set with a great performance of her version of the old folk standard, “Which Side Are You On.” Animal hopped out on stage to enthusiastically sing backup, almost bare-chested, her shirt totally unbuttoned. They brought the house down.
The band took a bow and stepped off stage. I had thought that the demand for an encore was strong at the Typhoon show I had attended the previous week…well, that was nothing compared to the rabid screaming and stomping of Ani’s fans. She came back out and ended the night with her classic tune “Gravel” and her most famous song of all, “32 Flavors.” For fans, it was a satisfying way to end the night, and, as Ani said, it was a great way to end a fantastic tour.