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Politics and Poetry

SHOW #7 Ani Difranco with Gregory Alan Isakov at Stargazers Theater 2/29/12

Oh, where do I begin? There was just so, so, so, so, so much good in this Leap Day evening show. I was overflowing with ecstatic joy by the time that Ani walked off the stage. The best part about it is that until Tuesday night I didn’t even know I would be attending. I’d missed out on a ticket to Ani’s show in Boulder and the other two nights she was playing in Colorado, Aspen on Thursday and Ft. Collins on Sunday were too far to do when I have work the next day. I had somehow missed the fact that there was a Colorado Springs show at all until Tuesday night. I was very disappointed that I was going to miss Ani on her way through Colorado this year so I couldn’t pass it up. The drive was long and that night was late but the show more than made up for that.

Stargazers Theater is, quite possibly, the only mom and pop music venue I’ve ever been to. I mean that quite literally because the couple that owned the place actually came on stage before the show and told us about upcoming shows. They were present all night long, watching the show as well as respectfully moving people from the aisles. Then at the end of the night they were at the door handing out fliers and saying goodnight to everyone. It was quaint, charming and wholly unique.The venue itself, which is a converted planetarium, was intimate yet spacious with great acoustics. It was set up in such a way that seemed to be more concerned with the comfort of the patrons  than fitting as many people in as possible, which is very rare in the venue business. It was a great place and I would definitely like to go see other shows there.

Gregory Alan Isakov

It’s a great shame that this was only the second time I’ve ever seen Isakov given that he’s local and I’ve know about him for years I really feel like I should have made a better effort. I really can’t say enough good things about this guy, his voice is great, his songs are well written and powerful, and he brings a lot of passion to his performances. He strikes me as a quintessential folk artist in that his guitar work isn’t overly complicated but his lyrics are well thought out and moving. His performance at this show was stellar and only served to further disappoint me in not having seen him more frequently. I wish I had more to say, something that wasn’t just superlatives but I really don’t. All I can say is that he’s great and that you should see him. You know what? Maybe I’ll just let his music do the talking.

Ani Difranco

I can never say enough good things about this woman. This is, maybe, the 14th time I’ve seen her in concert and she has never once disappointed me. She brings so much joy, passion, and raw emotion to her music that it’s a wonder to behold. The way that she bounces playfully around the stage, the way that she throws herself at the mic when she sings. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone look like they were having more fun on stage that she does every time I see her.

I discovered Ani differently than almost all of her fans. It wasn’t her politics that drew me to her, it was her performance. I saw her on a random night back in the late 90s performing on Conan O’Biren, she sang Shameless and I was blown away. It wasn’t until I started listening to her that I fully realized how political and politically charged she was. Luckily I agree with her on most things politically, and I love political music so this only made me like her more. Still, so many people look at me questioningly when I tell them I like Ani. When I told a friend a few weeks ago that I was hoping to see Ani when she came to town she said “Really? You like that angsty lesbian music?” I didn’t correct her because I know that the general perception of Ani’s music but she so much more than that. She writes love songs, ballads, protest songs, socially conscious songs, and even good hard rocking songs. That’s the thing about her, all music is somewhat biographical in nature but with her it goes deeper than that because she’s never been afraid to change what she’s doing and what she’s saying by what’s going on in her life. Has her misc been angsty? Of course it has, because like all of us, she’s been angtsy. These days however she’s older, wiser, and happier and her music reflects that. If you pigeonhole her because of some article you read, or because you don’t like political music you are missing out on a truly unique talent and one of the most original voices in music.

I’ve seen her solo and I’ve seen her with a ton of different band combinations. This time it was just her and a drummer (who was exceptional by the way), which harkens back a bit to how she played in the late 90s when I was first listening to her. Her ever evolving band is one of the many reason I’ve seen her so many times, every show is different, old songs adapt and are granted new life with each new configuration. Last night she continued that tradition and threw some now songs into the mix too. She also read a blasphemous poem and talked about her life. How she manages to be so personal in such a public forum is beyond me but it’s always a sight to behold. I must insist that you see her. No matter what it takes see her.

I could post so, so many of her amazing songs but I’ll leave you with just one. This song is one of the greatest unrequited love songs ever written. I feel like it perfectly expresses a place that everyone has been at one time or another in a fun and playful manner. You should note that this song is probably unsafe for work because of swears. Wonderful wonderful swears.

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One comment on “Politics and Poetry

  1. […] was as much responsible for my ticket purchase as either Brandi Carlile or Ingrid Michaelson. The first time I saw him was way back on leapday in a much smaller venue and I have to say that that performance […]

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