“It’s good to be back in London! You guys always give us a good show!” Katie Crutchfield tells the crowd at Oval Space. That much may be true, but it’s just as true that Katie’s ability to put on a good show herself has grown exponentially since her inception as Waxahatchee back in 2010.
Over the course of four albums and just under a decade of live shows, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield has grown into a confident and assured performer, able to switch between heavier, growling tracks and paired-back, delicate ballads, whilst still retaining the core emotion at the centre of her music throughout. On her latest album - last year’s ‘Out In The Storm’ - she was at her most mature and cohesive as a songwriter yet. During tonight’s show, she showcases that talent throughout.
Joined by a live band for most of her set, there’s a sense of family in the cohesiveness of everyone on stage, so it’s perhaps not surprising her sister Alison Crutchfield is at the helm on guitar. The show both begins and ends however with Katie performing solo with just an acoustic guitar - a move that makes the show feel intimate, despite being one of her largest London crowds to date.
Her rendition of ‘Recite Remorse’ is dropped early set, its build up of reverberating keys, delicate, plucked guitars and, finally, drums causing the perfect build up of energy to launch into the Breeders-esque ‘Silver’, which gets the set well and truly started before continuing into a set of just under an hour during which Katie’s skill and energy doesn’t let up, even during its quieter moments.
Predictably, new album tracks feature heavily throughout, but she drops in gems of her older material - ‘Misery Over Dispute’ and ‘Coast To Coast’ from second album ‘Cerulean Salt’, for example - as well as a cover of Kevin Morby’s ‘Downtown’s Lights’ and a promising new acoustic track that left the audience captivated.
By the time she closes on a slow, stripped-back version of new album track ‘Fade’, it’s hard not to leave the room feeling like you’ve witnessed something quite special.