In 2020, Waxahatchee put out their latest record, Saint Cloud. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, she was unable to perform the album directly following its release. However, nearly twenty months later, Saint Cloud was brought to life in New York City for a sold-out show at the iconic Webster Hall. The crowd, comprised mostly of late 20/early 30-year-olds, filled the concert hall, donning flannels, canvas bags, and five-panel hats with their craft beers in hand. I can honestly say that I had never seen Webster Hall so cool, calm, and collected as I did that evening before the show began.
Kicking off the night was the soft-spoken singer-songwriter, Katy Kirby. The Nashville, TN-based artist had released her debut album Cool Dry Place in February and her short but sweet setlist featured some favorites off the record, including “Traffic!” and “Peppermint.” Quiet as a church mouse, it was a beautiful juxtaposition to see Katy’s timidness be stripped away whenever she dove into a song. The passion poured through in her facial expressions and lyricism within her songs. Though early in her career, I am confident that we are just seeing the beginning, fundamental steps of Katy Kirby. She holds so much potential within her petite frame and, judging from the way she captivated fans within the venue on Monday evening, she has much bigger venues to fill within her future.
Katie Crutchfield is the indie singer-songwriter better known as Waxahatchee. Creating the name for the musical project from the Waxahatchee Creek in her home state of Alabama, she showed her southern roots during her sold-out performance on Monday evening. She started her set with “Oxbow”, before delving into “Chapel of Pines”, a Great Thunder cover. Watching the band from the side of the stage, my body felt like it was being bathed in warm sun rays as the southern twang in Crutchfield’s voice slipped out ever so slightly. Fans along the front row gripped their phones, recording every moment like it was their last. My eye was stuck on an older gentleman who was front and center. He gripped the barricade and danced around, truly, like nobody was watching and I admired him so much.
I entered the photo pit during “Recite Remorse” and took in the band performing in front of me. Bathed in a beautiful yellow light, Crutchfield took no breaks in her performance. Occasionally stepping back from the microphone to let her guitar playing skills take center stage, as she glanced around the stage, gifting smiles to each of her bandmates. Donning a flowy pink dress and bare feet, I felt drawn to the rawness that Crutchfield was showcasing on stage. The performance felt intimate, despite it being a sold-out crowd of upwards of 2,000 people. There was something in the tone of her voice and the sparkle in her eyes that made it feel more like we were gathering around for storytime, not watching a performance.
Waxahatchee played a lengthy and full 20 song setlist that featured fan favorites like “Fire”, “Can’t Do Much” and “Arkadelphia”. The band departed the stage for a moment before returning for their three-song encore. Waxahatchee brought their friends and fellow band, Snail Mail, to the stage for their rendition of Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough”, before concluding their performance with a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Light Of A Clear Blue Morning.”
It had been quite some time since I treated myself to a tranquil, peaceful and deeply captivating performance like the one that Waxahatchee served up on Monday evening. In all honesty, I was not extremely familiar with Waxahatchee and their music prior to the show, but after its conclusion, I can understand why so many are entranced by her. I truly have not been able to stop thinking about the stellar performance, from stage presence to vocals to overall energy — it was show-stopping! The small-town Alabama girl had conquered New York City — with this sold-out Webster Hall show, followed by two shows at Brooklyn’s Elsewhere.
If Saint Cloud was a place, it was inside Webster Hall on Monday evening and I would give anything to go back there.