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October 8, 2012

VAN HOY: Apple inspired by newer material

Singer-songwriter played the Louisville Palace over the weekend

LOUISVILLE — Fiona Apple is an artist totally in control of her career who can careen out of control when she takes the stage.

That was evident Friday night at the Louisville Palace theater, where Apple, 35, mixed in old and new from her four-album career which spans 16 years.

The rocky part came early, when Apple seemed to rush though “Fast As You Can,” “On the Bound” and “Shadowboxer.” All three come from Apple’s first two releases, 1996’s “Tidal” and 1999’s “When the Pawn ...”

The sound mix early in the set was also a problem, with Apple’s vocals becoming lost behind the full band.

For the remainder of the 90-minute set, Apple found her groove and mixed in songs from all her albums, including her 2012 release, “The Idler Wheel ...”

As an aside, for those not familiar with Apple’s work, two of her albums have very long titles, hence the ellipsis.

Apple seemed energized and playful for “Periphery,” a great new song from the new album, as well as the album’s single, “Every Single Night.” She followed that up with a passionate version of “Sleep to Dream” from “Tidal.” There also were more touching moments, as with “I Know” from “When the Pawn ...”

She stayed center stage for most of the set, sometimes banging a walking stick/cane on the floor.  She had few words other than her lyrics for the audience, except for a quick and odd story about her shoes and her mother.

It’s to be expected from Apple — she’s unconventional, but her talents as a lyricist and arranger are formidable. She makes music on her own terms and it shows.

She’s a performer who seems to be spilling out her soul to the world, and Friday night on a rare Louisville stop, she showed she still has a lot to say.

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