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Ani draws new kind of Hummingbird crowd


Ani Difranco (pictured above, but you knew that), in her Toronto performance last night, was probably making this face for a number of reasons. a) She may have been eyeing security that had no chance of holding back the crowds that rushed the stage come encore time. b) She may be feeling her low E string about to pop under her fingers for the 2nd time in one show. or c) Maybe she has just got a whiff of the weed smokers in balcony row DD.

Regardless, her fingers moved unphased as she whipped through a setlist of intricate self-penned songs, both new and old, in a performance that left the crowd on their feet, begging for more.

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The performance style was pretty stripped down as Ani performed with only an upright bass as accompaniment. Still, it was hardly a 'light' offering. The set list was littered with poetry, politics and potty mouthing off. Opening act, Hamell On Trial, contributed to all those departments with much joy and crass humour as well. I had a good laugh at the expense of the young teenagers I spotted sitting there awkwardly with their parents.

None of that was out of the ordinary though. The only real strange thing about this show was the venue. I'm wondering if Ms Difranco's hired a new tour co-ordinator that just doesn't know the Toronto scene or if the Hummingbird Ctr is looking to expand their repertoire (ie. trying to be cool). The home of the Nutcracker, Diana Krall showcases and Dora the Explorer LIVE was definitely an odd place to be checking in for a rowdy ol' Ani Difranco concert. Fear not, we didn't trash it, but it's going to have an interesting smell lingering around for Dora's performance. ;)

That aside, this was simply another amazing show by the righteous babe herself. If she can spare us the Hummingbird (and accompanying tres cher tickets) next time though, that'd be much appreciated. A 2 night stretch at Massey Hall is ALWAYS a better choice.


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