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Liz Phair Brought Rock and Catharsis

Friday night’s performances at the Granada Theater were a celebration of women who know how to rock.

In the midst of a Senate Judiciary hearing and an FBI investigation that has put sexual politics on national display, Speedy Ortiz and Liz Phair provided audiences with rock and catharsis.

The night began with a raucous performance by the female-fronted, Northampton, Massachusetts, indie rock band, Speedy Ortiz.

In the midst of her set, lead singer Sadie Dupuis let the audience know that Texas was, indeed, the band’s favorite state.

She also said the band especially likes our current U.S. Senate candidate, referring to Rep. Beto O’Rourke, showing that the grassroots appeal of the young congressman — a champion for women’s rights — reaches far beyond the borders of the Lone Star State.

And then came Liz Phair, still standing at five-feet-two instead of six-feet-one.

Phair has not released new material since 2010’s independent release, Funstyle, but her fans stayed true as ever as they waited in anticipation to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Phair’s tour de force, major-label debut, Exile in Guyville.

But like all good things, the audience had to wait a few songs.

Phair came out strong with “Supernova” from her 1994 release Whip-Smart and “Johnny Feelgood” from 1998’s whitechocolatespaceegg.

Things slowed down as Phair moved into the songs, “Cinco De Mayo” and “Uncle Alvarez” from the same albums, but the energy ramped back up with the desperate love anthem “Everything to Me” — the only song she played from her 2005 release, Somebody’s Miracle.

Then, like a pressure cooker blowing its top off, the audience exploded as Phair began a three-song medley from Exile, beginning with its best known track “Never Said,” followed by “6’1”” and “Help Me Mary.”

And, after eight years of waiting for new material, audiences were treated to a new song by Liz Phair, “The Game,” which was met with much appreciation.

To bring the excitement level down a smidge, Phair moved into “Go West,” a steamy, slow, almost-country song followed by two more songs from Exile — “Mesmerizing” and “Stratford-on-Guy”—and “Polyester Bride” from whitechocolatespaceegg.

Phair rounded out the set with “Extraordinary” and “Why Can’t I?,” both songs from her self-titled pop breakthrough album.

Those who stuck around after the set were treated to two more songs from Exile — “Fuck and Run” and “Divorce Song.”

In this political climate, sometimes it doesn’t take a rant from the stage to show one’s stance in the political conversation du jour. Sometimes, all it takes is showing that the strength of a woman is resilient — like a 25-year-old album that can still send audiences into a fervor.

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