Indie star Ani DiFranco to play South Bend
By MAUREEN SMITHE
Scene Music Critic
Opening up her Winter 2002 tour Feb. 19 at South Bend's Morris Performing Arts Center, Ani DiFranco proves once again that her fan base extends beyond big cities and urban meccas.
Her grassroots origin grew out of Buffalo, NY, when she moved out on her own at the age of 15, releasing her first album just five years later. Her singing and songwriting skills and her unique acoustic knack bring fans in by the droves.
Thanks to bootleg distribution, DiFranco took the college circuit by storm early on in her career. Her Winter 2002 Tour aims at pleasing the collegiate crowd, with stops in the hometowns of Ohio State University, Michigan State, Missouri-Columbia and Washington University, among others.
Critics hail DiFranco as an truly entertaining live performer, and her South Bend show should produce no less. The Maine Times considers her performances to be "easily the best rock [concerts] I've seen in at least a decade … This is something special." Critics at The London Times consider her "the most brilliant musician and performer you are likely to see in a year of gig-going."
DiFranco, who considers herself "a whirlwind of Type A energy," is known for giving audiences more than what they expect. A self-proclaimed feminist, she remains in charge of the entire Ani operation. Everything from cover art to T-shirt design has to be approved by DiFranco, and this self-assertion continues to garner her cult status as an icon of the anti-mainstream.
Her fierce sense of individualism and self-motivation are what bring fans to her shows in droves. DiFranco channels emotion into her lyrics and instrumentation, both on stage and in her albums. She is considered one of the first riot grrls to hit the indie scene, and she isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Joining DiFranco on stage this tour will be her tried-and-true support band. Daren Hahn on drums, Jason Mercer on bass, Hans Teuber on saxophone and Julie Wolf on keyboards all have considerable Righteous Babe experience alongside their fearless leader.
DiFranco enjoys regular critic praise outside of the concert arena. Rolling Stone has called her "one of the most prolific artists of the '90s," and Launch.com critic Brett Anderson hailed her "as an acoustic performer who cut her teeth on the coffee-shop circuit." DiFranco's highly acclaimed 1996 album Dilate debuted in the Top 100, quite an achievement for an independent release.
There are still plenty of seats available for Tuesday night's show. Call the Morris Performing Arts Center box office at 1-800-537-6415 for ticket information.
All Scene Stories for Tuesday, February 12, 2002