So Much Shouting/So Much Laughter

For arch music maverick Ani DiFranco, the art is in the moment, and that's what comes through on this live double set.

For arch music maverick Ani DiFranco, the art is in the moment, and that's what comes through on this live double set. Here, the eloquent contrarian is in her element—at peak form, in fact. Taken from gigs spanning 2000 to 2002, these 24 tracks—including three never before released—showcase DiFranco at her musical and temperamental best. Her bull's-eye declarations and sardonic political wit permeate the two discs while her seven-piece band runs hot from start to finish. For a quick dose, check out the very personal "32 Flavors" or the in-your-face "Not a Pretty Girl." Throughout, the freewheeling folk-jazz-funk musical foundation dovetails DiFranco's poetry-slam vocal style perfectly as she gouges out veiled social truths and fires off streaming indictments of all things conventional with utter damn-the-torpedoes attitude. And why not? Like she says on opening track "Swan Dive," "I've got better things to do than survive."—AZ