As the gentle tones of “Recite Remorse” echoed through Thalia Hall, everything felt right. Waxahatchee, the band led and created by Katie Crutchfield, came to the stage and slowly let the emotional song find its footing. Crutchfield’s voice felt like a stark realization in the moody instrumentation. She sang of passionate intensity, anger, and troubling times; her voice refusing to waver. Much of Waxahatchee’s latest album delves into the final moments of a bad relationship, focusing on every difficult detail, but Crutchfield’s delivery is ever-confident. At Thalia Hall, this confidence could be felt with a unbelievably ferocity.
Waxahatchee wasn’t the only band that exuded confidence that night as Snail Mail and Cayetana opened up the night. Lindsey Jordan led the rest of Snail Mail, drummer Shawn Durham and bassist Ryan Vieira, through lo-fi songs that had a very chill vibe which resonated with the crowd. Every passing song ramped up the intensity, with Jordan’s melodic vocal being the stand out. It all led up to a final song that saw Jordan performing alone on a darkened stage with single light shining on her. It was a beautiful moment in the set, letting her successfully put all her talents on display.
Cayetana followed up with a much more explosive sound. Augusta Koch takes the lead on vocals and guitar, belting out modern punk anthems with an indie edge while Allegra Anka and Kelly Olsen command bass and drums, respectively. There was practically no stopping them from their focused performance, save for a song dedication to a friend and an excellent drummer joke from Olsen. They’re boisterous and consistently fun, while their lyrics hold some pretty heavy and relatable lyrics. On “Easy to Love,” a song of isolation after a breakup that has Koch stating and immediately questioning “We’re only as good as our worst moments/ Are we only as good as the worst?” Considering just how great their set was, the song is a little off: they are incredibly easy to love and have nothing to worry about.
As Waxahatchee’s opening song “Recite Remorse” reached its pinnacle of elegant minimalist tones, the rest of the band’s instruments began to join into the fold. Katie’s twin sister Alison stood of to the side on switching between keys and guitar, Ashley Arnwine held the back of the stage on her drums, Kathrine Simonetti provided the bass, and Ali Donohue added another layer of guitar to the mix. It was a swell that lead into “Silver”, a wall of sharp guitars that raised the musical stakes for the rest of the show.
Waxhatchee played the entirety of Out in the Storm with conviction, making each song feeling like a piercing statement. All the songs went by with a rapid fire quickness. I wanted to hear more and more of every song, to hear Katie Crutchfield go deeper and deeper into the emotional passages she penned. There is just something about her songs that are so good that you want them to last forever.
Between cuts off Out in the Storm were tracks from Cerulean Salt and Ivy Tripp, which sound much larger and more biting than before. These songs had evolved with Crutchfield, who has been expanding her sound toward an exquisite ethereal realm. “Poison” sounded more sure of itself than it’s lyrics imply. “Peace and Quiet” more dynamic and expressive than its original inception. While those flashes of ’90s indie rock are still there, Waxhatchee’s uniqueness has overtaken them and have created some more.
For the encore, Waxahatchee sandwiched the quiet beauty of “Fade” between two tracks off of Ivy Tripp. The feelings of longing and darkness in a relationship in “La Loose” made a neat passage way for the “Fade.” The song’s finality and utter strength in letting a relationship go that just isn’t right felt like one of the Katie Crutchfield’s strongest performances of the night. The damning “Under a Rock,” an instantly recognizable track, finished off the night with a loud and ecstatic finish. The three songs perfectly encapsulated the night, showing just how much growth and confidence Waxahatchee has amassed.