God Is In The TV > Reviews > Live > Waxahatchee – The Shacklewell Arms – 13th of June 2013

Waxahatchee – The Shacklewell Arms – 13th of June 2013

Waxahatchee

It takes a special kind of artist to command a London crowds attention.

With new album Cerulean Salt expanding on the themes of loss and relationships that Alabama native Katie Crutchfield explored on her debut (the lo-fi home recorded American Weekend) there is a sense of dread in the back of our mind that the introspective beauty of Waxahatchee’s songs will be drowned out by the conversations and inane chatter that should have been left with pre-gig drinks in the pub beforehand.

Standing on the small Shacklewell Arms stage strumming the opening chords to Hollow Bedroom, blonde hair illuminated by the lights of the tightly packed venue/pub backroom, Katie Crutchfield immediately stuns any whisper of conversation into silence. “I left like I got my way,but truly I left with nothing at all” is sung in hushed tones and lingers in the air over the crowd, many of whom have waited to see Crutchfield’s songs performed live after holding these songs close in albums and through earphones for so long.

With a drummer and bassist adding some musical muscle that transforms Grass Stain from a misty eyed, self deprecating ballad into a punky indie-pop gem without missing its emotional mark is testament to Crutchfields songwriting. New single ‘Coast to Coast’ is 1:50 of fuzzy melodic perfection while a mid set rendition of ‘Knocking on Heavens Door’ turns a cover that’s been dragged into mediocrity over the years into a sound that is joyous and vibrant. The bass driven ‘Brother Bryan’ with its clipped regimented drums gives enough space for Crutchfields voice and lyrics to flow over the top of while Bathtub is a standout highlight in a stunning set of jaw-dropping beauty. Played solo with just the houselights for company, Bathtub transports the 200 attendees into Katie Crutchfields teenage bedroom, the same bedroom she escaped back to after a tough time in her personal life  and the same bedroom which formed the solace and spine for many of American Weekend’s songs.To see Katie Crutchfield imploring from behind a shield of emotional armor “Take my word for it I’m not worth it… I ignored you all night and you don’t deserve it..’ to someone she just wants to forget however much it hurts to do so, her voice naked in its honesty and power and met by a captivated silence, her voice providing that same conversation stopper mentioned earlier provides one of tonight’s most breathtaking moments .

Ending on a beautiful version of Tangled Envisioning and staying around to speak to fans long after the venue has emptied out there is a feeling that tonight might be the only chance to see Waxahatchee in a room this small. There is no doubt however, that even the biggest venue wont be able to contain the talent and incredible voice of Katie Crutchfield.

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