SXSW Showcase Reviews
Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., March 16, 2012
Fiona AppleStubb's, Wednesday, March 14
She still moves like a pissed-off 19-year-old. Standing first with her hands on her hips, Fiona Apple broke and chopped and spun about in violent disarray. She stretched and heaved, sucked air, and jumped around during instrumental breaks. She drank hot tea from a white mug, draped herself over her black grand piano, tugged her skirt, and slapped at her thigh repeatedly on "A Mistake." She struck the piano hard to close "Fast As You Can" and stayed there through "On the Bound," which lurked and stretched before recoiling and pouncing again. Her voice was grating when she sang "You're all I need." She flubbed one verse on "Paper Bag," but dismissed it with a brief moment of candidness: "I start spacing out because I'm like, 'Fuck, I'm doing a show!'" She played three new songs: the first one slow and led by a high-pitched triangle melody; another in the same syncopated, percussive vein as "The Way Things Are"; and a third wherein Apple stood and strung poetry through long, continuous lyrical lines with her trembling voice. She received three ovations midshow, with the loudest coming when she sang, "I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine," and she smiled rarely. Instead, she kept a pointed scowl. She looked hungry for the stage again.