Ani Difranco with Sekou Sundiata at Historic Fort York (100 Garrison), June 15. Tickets $35. Attendance: 1,000. Rating: NNNN
gone are the days of $12 ani di- Franco shows in clubs so small you could see the sweat in her cleavage. Under a hazy, threatening sky at Fort York, DiFranco proved that mass popularity isn't a bad thing. Friday's sold-out gig offered a seamless set list, impeccable sound quality and enough nostalgia to satisfy long-time fans.
Funk-infused openers Sekou Sundiata struck a sultry mood with infectious bass lines, politically charged lyrics and velvety smooth vocals. They could have stayed on an extra hour, easy.
DiFranco kept the sexed-up crowd interested and involved even when her tight five-piece band (complete with a two-piece horn section) veered off into unknown instrumental territory.
Old songs like The Diner, Gravel, Fire Door and Letter To A John got a funky facelift that, though pleasing, didn't always add much to the original material. In fact, with all the soundboard gymnastics, vocal filter, over-dubbing and flashy lights, the best moments came when DiFranco stood alone with her guitar, manipulating the silence.