SXSW Showcase Reviews
Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., March 16, 2012
Fiona AppleCentral Presbyterian Church, Thursday, March 15
If Wednesday's showcase at Stubb's was Fiona Apple's way of reigniting her immutable torment, last night's affair proved her queen of all nuance. Playing to a mostly hushed crowd inside the Central Presbyterian Church, Apple stuck to the same script as Wednesday's, ushering three new songs ("Anything We Want," "Valentine," and "Every Single Night") into a set that danced its way from "Fast as You Can" to "On the Bound," flirted through "Paper Bag" and "Extraordinary Machine," and shook violently upon "A Mistake" and "Criminal." The thrill lay in the reclusive star's subtle flair. Apple brought "Fast as You Can" to a near halt before singing, "Sometimes my mind don't shake and shift," then quivered in an irregular falsetto on the last "I'll be your girl if you say it's a gift." She knocked her head from left to right, making her voice only partially audible at the end of "A Mistake," and whispered her way through parts of "Criminal" before coming back maddened with her hands clutched to her chest on the hook. "I've been a bad, bad girl," she sang breathy and low, like the wounds were still fresh – like 16 years ago was only yesterday.