Review: Waxahatchee – Scala, London, 22.10.2013

Waxahatchee_press3As the rain hurtled down from the London sky, the Scala, nestled in London’s King’s Cross, seemed like a cosy cubby hole in which to escape. In fact, the heat generated from the sold-out crowd seemed like it was enough to evaporate the weather system all together. But no one really seemed to care about that in the midst of the tightly packed huddle in front of the stage where Philadelphia based noise-pop rockers Swearin’ were nicely warming things up. The choice of support band for the evening was inspired, being fronted by Waxahatchee’s twin sister Allison, it was like having a mini version of the main event before the main event. That’s not to say Swearin’ couldn’t hold their own. Their run of songs shot from the stage like a wave of surf, encapsulating the loud, raucous energy of teenage love. The crowd bopping and jostling like it was an ecstatic house party.

As the lights faded and the dry ice machine went into overdrive, Waxahatchee (AKA Katie Crutchfield) stepped demurely onto the stage and launched in to solo versions of ‘Hollow Bedroom’, ‘Grass Stain’ and ‘Blue Pt. II’, three of the more intimate songs from the Waxahatchee back catalogue. The hushed crowd stood, basking in Crutchfield’s intense, honest delivery. Then the rhythm section stepped out and the newly realised three piece blasted out live favourite ‘Coast To Coast’ closely followed by a speeded up version of recent single ‘Misery Over Dispute’.

There were a few surprises in the set, not least a cover of Mama Cass’ ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’, Crutchfield’s reworking teasing out the latent 60s melodies of the song and shaking it up into a track that would fit effortlessly into Weezer’s early material. Finishing off with the forlorn ‘Peace And Quiet’, the stand out penultimate track from her latest album Cerulean Salt, before capping the set with the title track from her first album American Weekend. But the crowd bayed for more and Cruchfield obliged with luscious solo performances of ‘Dixie Cups And Jars’ and a heartbreaking rendition of ‘I Think I Love You’. Waxahatchee made it clear that, despite being a supposed thing of the 90s, tales of love and angst set to a simple beat and an overdriven guitar have got plenty of milage in them yet.

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