Last night was a big night for me.
After listening to Ani DiFranco‘s music for over fifteen years last night I got to see her in concert for the first time.
Not just any concert, mind you. A small venue, as in– just a big room with a stage in one corner. And on it, just Ani with a guitar. No band, no distractions, fifteen feet away with only three heads between me and Ani DiFranco. I was giddy.
When I first walked in, I looked around in disbelief at the size of the room, and the small number of the assembled crowd, and had to ask the bartender to be sure I was in the right place.
No mistake. That’s New Orleans for you.
When Ani finally walked out onto the little stage, looking like a regular person more or less, like any good friend of mine, and then started singing in the voice so raw and familiar, I reeled. I glowed. I cried.
To be honest I haven’t kept up with Ani in years. Back in the day I had listened her early albums threadbare, knew every lyric to every song. I hadn’t been much into her later, more melancholy stuff. I always loved her music for it’s bared teeth–I am perfectly capable of being sad all on my own. But hearing her newest songs, and her little bits of stories between, I realized she had grown right through the melancholy. She’s come through all the fuck you’s and the fuck me’s, and out the other end.
What does this have to do with this blog? Am I turning music critic? Hardly.
The punchline is– Ani DiFranco is now both wife and mama.
Most of you are wondering what the hell I’m talking about. It sounds an innocuous statement. Plenty of wives and mamas in the world. Let me fill you in. Ani has long been a top icon of the punk/hard-core/feminist/bi-dyke subculture. She’s famous for her snarl. She eats men for lunch, right? Not lunch with a man. Who she’s married to. And succumbed to– oh that most dreaded of chains!– a baby by?!
I feel so… proud. Proud of her, a true rengade, willing to bare the scorn even of her own entourage, and also proud to be one of her fans.
She’s a righteous babe, that much cannot be argued. But now she’s a righteous mama too.