Wednesday, March 14th 2012
News: Fiona Apple
After nearly five years away from stages outside of Los Angeles, Fiona Apple made her comeback at SXSW in Austin, TX on Wednesday night, treating fans to a set of hits as well as three new songs from her (hopefully) soon to be released new album.
Opening with Fast As You Can, hopeful exhilaration turned to concerned bewilderment as Fiona only sang only about sixty percent of the lyrics. Clearly overwhelmed with anxiety and battling stage fright, the gaunt songstress was a bundle of nervous energy and furious intensity.
She caught a stronger stride over the course of the next several songs, coming more out of her shell after screaming “You’re not real!” out to the audience in a moment of humorous awkward tension. That’s a nice way of saying she seems more batshit crazy than ever.
Apple’s trademark shimmering vibrato came into full light with the new song Anything We Want, an achingly gentle-stepping, mostly two-chord pendulum that doesn’t quite qualify as a ballad but is sweeter than nearly anything she’s ever done. It’s an enchanting tune, a long stroke of sensual love-reaffirmation – watch below:
Two more new songs were played, the first being Valentine – a sparse, remorseful piece with piano and drums. Thunder begins in what seems to be the prechorus, with the chorus taking full bright stride. The track was very warmly received, as was Every Single Night, the third and final new song.
With a full band in tow providing a more light-hearted & playful backdrop for her darker sensibilities, Apple’s spastic unpredictability was reined in just enough to maintain a linear execution of her set.
Her frantic mannerisms and painfully thin visual depiction aside, Apple’s presence onstage was a thrilling experience for any fan at Stubb’s on Wednesday night, a reminder of the enigmatic oddity of the singer’s lovetorn outpourings.
She closed with an impassioned rendition of her signature hit Criminal, the song that planted her on the radar of millions of music fans who were completely unprepared for Apple’s vitriolic vengeance in an Alanis Morissette world.
Here’s a gallery of the performance, including the full setlist:
Apple’s new album is on track for a June release via Epic Records. She’ll play again at South by Southwest tomorrow night, followed by a series of East coast dates.