Ani DiFranco has come a long way from her tireless barnstorming of coffee houses and sweaty clubs. She can still bring the righteousness, but it's less likely to be accompanied by skittering, ferocious assaults on her acoustic guitar strings than an easy, focused groove that suggests 15 years of living in New Orleans have left an impression on her artistic soul. She's been touring with a crack band that includes Ivan Neville on keyboards, heightening the sense that the folk-punk icon is delivering music that's all grown up.
After a few albums of increasing introspection, DiFranco made a return to political clamor on her latest studio album, Binary, released in June of last year. She's one of the few artists who can rail against the patriarchy in song and have it sound like a naturally expressed worldview rather than a musician trying out a chipper new "woke" persona. Decades of credibility building as a raucous rabble-rouser will do that. Much as DiFranco has changed over time, there's a road-tested dependability to her talents, as demonstrated by a recent Tiny Desk concert that offered a nice reminder that she has charisma to burn. The New York duo Gracie And Rachel will open the show with baroque, pining pop designed to set hearts and consciousnesses asway. —Daniel Seeger