Fiona Apple's Soaring Sounds
DC @ Capitol Ballroom, April 15
Washington Post    Apr 17  '97

by Rob Pegoraro

"You don't often get the same contrast between serious and silly as at Fiona Apple's show at the Capitol Ballroom Tuesday night.  Maybe it was something in the air backstage; maybe it was just a side effect of Tax Day.  Either way, the 19-year-old singer-songwriter's intensity during her songs was belied by her giggly stage presence between them:  "This is, like, such a cool set," she enthused after the first couple of songs.  Once she stopped talking, however, Apple's phenomenal vocal talent was hard to miss in such vaguely gothic settings as her solo performance of the slow-burning "Never Is a Promise" -- backed up by her vivid, percussive style on piano. That immediately recognizable alto of hers proved to be surprisingly agile, as in "Carrion" where she switched dramatically between a delicate, breathy tone and an almost violent fervor.  The only major letdown came, oddly enough, with her two radio hits so far, "Shadowboxer" and "Sleep to Dream." Both sounded rushed, almost as if Apple and the band were playing them to satisfy a line in their contracts. She wrapped things up with a powerful version of Jimi Hendrix's "Angel" in which her soaring voice-- deservedly-- took the place of Hendrix's guitar as the lead instrument."  fin