Ani vs John K. I Think I Made the Right Choice

A little over a week ago I had been put into a Sophie’s Choice type situation. That’s said somewhat tongue in cheek, but if you are a fan of either Ani Difranco or John K Samson/The Weakerthans… you’d understand.

Ani Difranco, as my fellow owner very aptly described, was the epitome of my college experience. For years I screamed, cried, laughed and angrily sang through clenched teeth every word of Ani’s discography. She so easily defined every range of emotion a young woman could feel and then some. She was performing at Showbox Market downtown.

About ten miles north at the Tractor Tavern, a man who defined my post-college struggles with the tenacity and eloquence I have yet to encounter since, was performing at the same time as Miss Difranco. John K. Samson, the lead singer and lyricist for Canadian sweethearts The Weakerthans, is on tour promoting his new solo album. About six months ago I braved a blizzard (I’m not shitting you) up to Vancouver just to see The Weakerthans Band (everyone but Samson) perform with Jim Bryson. It was a fantastic show but just not the same.

While trying to make the decision of whose show to attend, I took into account that Samson may not sing many of his Weakerthans tunes. Understandably he’s trying to promote this new solo album. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but it hasn’t had time to change my life like the other releases like Fallow, Left and Leaving and, well, all of them. However, I realized that Ani tours somewhat regularly and I hadn’t seen Samson perform for nearly four years. That alone should be a crime. So, I chose the Tractor show and I will never ever regret it.

Not only did JKS (yea… we’re on initial basis, it’s like first-name basis but better) blow me out of the water no matter what he sang, but a majority of the music her performed were soul-crushingly good tunes from his previous records. On top of this epic performance, I was surrounded by Weakerthites (a term I coined just now for people who understand how much I love this band because they do too). I am about 99% positive that every single person in the venue was singing every lyric to every song in the entire set. Normally this kind of thing might annoy a hardcore fan but it was almost like we were family singing songs that our dad had written. We were simply enjoying the genuine and heartfelt love we had for the music this man creates and shared in the experience with every part of ourselves.

I can die happy now.

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