Alanis Morissette at the State Theatre, 10/12/12
Photo by Steve Cohen
with MC Souleye
State Theatre, Minneapolis
Friday, October 12, 2012
For those in the audience wanting to revisit a bygone decade, Alanis Morissette's show on Friday night at the State Theater offered varying degrees of success.
Indeed, it seemed as though half of the crowd had never quite progressed beyond the grunge-and-glitter era of the mid-'90s. Many came expecting to relive a little of Morissette's seminal album, Jagged Little Pill, with its self-righteous angst and gritty honesty. Morissette did not disappoint.
Seventeen years after the release of Jagged, Morissette finds herself happily married and a mother -- a theme she explores often in her new album, Havoc and Bright Lights. A lot of Morissette fans find the new, settled version of Alanis to be a turn-off -- who is this happy artist? Where did the angry Alanis go, the one who could demand to know if the new girl would go down in a theater?
Thankfully, Morissette must realize where her greatest triumph is. Despite having a new album to promote, Morissette stuck to a set list heavily favoring tracks from Jagged Little Pill -- which, honestly, is what everyone came for, anyway. She stalked the stage for the first few tracks, moving back and forth and curling her fingers at the audience, and later showed off her impressive guitar collection.
Photo by Steve Cohen
Morissette has a strange way of singing, where her big, wide smile never breaks, so that it seems like her voice is just sneaking out from between her teeth. It's somewhat harrowing, to watch her with her trademark long dark tresses and Mona Lisa features, belt through the angry "You Learn" with nary a change in facial expression.
Despite the heavy-hitters and fan favorites, it was sometimes difficult to discern which song Morissette was actually singing -- sound on her vocals could have been bumped up a few notches. To be fair, this issue might have been partly due to the fact that most of the crowd was screaming along to the lyrics in just about every song -- especially in "Ironic," where the first two verses were an audience a capella.
Jagged Little Pill was a great album. Definitive, even: third-wave feminism wrapped in rock music. It was every bit the sucker-punch it was meant to be in 1995, and the fact that songs like "Ironic" and "Hand In My Pocket" have lost none of their relevance today -- indeed, continue to capture an audience and reach new fans--is profound. Part of Morissette's enduring charm is just that. Despite her aluminum foil voice and her varying eccentricities, she will always rock, and, yes, will always be a little bit angsty.
Critic's Bias: All right, look. Jagged Little Pill was like, my soundtrack to being 14. I would be lying if I said I didn't have a special place for angsty girl-rockers. That said, I haven't really paid much attention to anything Alanis has done since that album. Besides Dogma, obviously.
The Crowd: Oh, so entertaining. Lots of couples, lots of girls screaming along to every song. Everyone there was pretty much determined to have a good time.
Overheard in the Crowd: This awesome lady was sitting in front of me. She had a pretty hysterical running commentary throughout the show, but nothing was quite so good as this quote: "I was fighting with my seventeen-year-old this morning, and I was like, 'I made a way better drug addict at your age.'"
Random Notebook Dump: MC Souleye was the opener, and, incidentally, also Alanis Morissette's husband. And he was totally wrong for the bill--in addition to just... not being very good. Some people seemed into it--maybe as a courtesy.
All I Really Want
Right Through You
Edge Of Evolution
Head Over Feet
King Of Pain
You Oughta Know
Hand In My Pocket
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