The Fleece, Bristol
Listening to Katie Chrutchfield’s lyrics can feel like flicking through a diary that’s been left out with the hope that someone might come across it.
Her boldly personal first album as Waxahatchee – 2012’s American Weekend – was a lo-fi collection of acoustic songs that were recorded while she was snowed in for a week at her parents’ rural home in Alabama. For 2013’s Cerulean Salt and this year’s Ivy Tripp, her twin sister Allison lent members of her band Swearin’ to contribute to the recording, and Waxahatchee’s sound has become increasingly fleshed-out.
So tonight, Waxahatchee arrive onstage as a five piece band. They utilise their three guitars with the bitter-sweet summer anthem Under a Rock and the poly-rhythmic latter half of Less Than is thrashed out. These are great songs, but with Katie Crutchfield’s material, there’s a case to be made that less is more.
Cerulean Salt track Blue Pt. II is one of Waxahatchee’s most intimate songs, and on record you can literally hear Katie’s fingers swipe up and down her acoustic guitar strings. Live, the band takes a break while Katie and Allison perform their harmonised duet over nothing but muted chords. Once the song finishes, the crowd breaks into applause. When you’re watching songwriters with this level of talent perform, it’s often the quieter moments in the set which are met with the loudest response.