Saturday, April 19, at the Uptown Theater.

Ani Difranco 

Saturday, April 19, at the Uptown Theater.

Although the creative gap between the folkies at the local coffee shop and the cats at the jazz club around the corner can typically be measured in light years, Ani DiFranco can bend the laws of time and space and make that distance seem like a scant few steps. It's all part of a prolonged progression that's seen the loud-and-proud singer-songwriter move from solo songstress to leader of a jazz-funk ensemble. Evolve, the title of DiFranco's fifteenth foray into the studio, refers to this process, but it's also an active command to her audience, demanding that her fanatic followers keep up with her pace. Evolve balances boisterous arrangements and delicate harmonies, presenting a softer alternative to her trademark thrash-and-burn guitar sound. Yet it's DiFranco's voice that best reflects her refinement. Desperately impassioned one moment and coolly coy the next, it's always an engaging and strikingly conversational outpouring of her outspoken and political nature. The ten-minute tirade "Serpentine" showcases DiFranco's power as a performer, serving as a scathing indictment of big business, big government and the big lies that both weave. Yet the core of her vitriol is reserved for the crime of indifference, which is why her listeners better keep paying attention.

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