Ani Difranco & Me...

I picked up most of my musical preferences in college. Sure I have my favorites bands and artists, that occasionally change over time. There’s that one song that makes the playlist because it’s a really, really good one. But if you’re like me and in your thirties you tend to have nothing nice to say about most of today’s music. Maybe I’m becoming like my parents were with me when I listened to MC Hammer (cringe, I was young). I also grew up in love with Kurt Cobain, Peter Steele and Layne Staley. Although Janet Jackson showed her boobie during a Super Bowl, I forgave her publicity stunt, just as those that listen to and love Miley Cyrus will forgive that mess on this year’s MTV music awards.

When I lived in a shoebox while dining on Ramen noodles most evenings if I didn’t get a filling meal or two off my day job at the catering company or bar I worked for while studying Telecommunications I was introduced to Ani Difranco by the young lady, S, who resided across the hallway from me. S was a hippy at heart girl and we had a love of movies like Trainspotting and Real Genius. Ani Difranco was going to be in concert at a small venue and S needed someone else to go with her to the concert. She'd already purchased two tickets for the show but the other person backed out, or their friendship ended.

I borrowed Dilate in CD format and listened to it for the next three days. I was hooked from the first three tracks. I wanted to see the show and the girl across the hall continued to feed me information about the artist that I found awesome and inspiring. S told me Ani had moved to New York City as a teenager and she learned guitar by pestering various artist. I thought that was pretty cool considering I learned to play bass pretty much the same way. Her original poetry could be found throughout her lyrics and her style was so joyful, yet dark I decided that the only way to describe the folksinger's music was a piece of Ani’s soul was in every single song. Then S and I went to the concert and I was in love.

That was it. One CD, one concert and I found my go to artist. When life sucked, I blared Ani from my grandmother’s car speakers as I drove around trying to figure out my next move. Miss Difranco’s music worked for every occasion, the good and bad times of life in general. I purchased CDs on my own and even after college if I saw that Ani Difranco would be in town and I had the cash, I attended the concert.

To date I’ve been to about twenty Ani Difranco concerts. Once a guy who’s a friend of a very good friend had tickets and decided to treat us to the show. He called her ‘Annie’ over the night of that show, which irritated me. We’ve attended two of her concerts together. He likes her message and loves that in addition to being an amazing performer and feminist that Ani Difranco is a huge activist when it comes to political and economical issues. During the last concert we went to he repeated her statement about Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Lie, when she said something like, “Really Al? That’s your solution to the energy crisis? Try again you silly boy!” as we sat in the parking lot listening to the Canon disc sets I’d just purchased.

I introduced Ani to quite a few friends over the years but eventually I got to the point where I didn’t need someone else to go with me. She has a show this coming Wednesday and although I invited a few people to the concert, I bought my ticket a month ago and I don’t really care if anyone joins me.

Although a few of her songs have mainstreamed for the most part Ani Difranco is an independent artist who started her own label, Righteous Babe, after turning down offer after offer to sign with an already established label. She’s the kind of artist that has a strong, often playful message that is fun to hear and dance along with. I have yet to be disappointed with a single show. When I can’t write because my Muse is in a mood, Ani soothes my inner artist and gets her back on track.

So if you’re going to be in the Atlanta, GA area Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 8:00pm stop by the Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points for an introduction to this quirky, soulful music by a woman that has inspired this starving porn writer for years and for years to come. Or if you’re already familiar with Ani Difranco and want to see a concert, that’s a reason to go too. The live shows are completely different from the CDs in my opinion they’re better. Each performance fills me with anticipation, and Wednesday night can’t come fast enough.

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