Originally scheduled for April 2020, and then rescheduled for September 2020….then rescheduled again to October 2021, Katie and Katy (Crutchfield and Kirby) finally made their way to Bushwick’s Elsewhere in support of what many felt was the best album to be released in 2020, Waxahatchee’s Saint Cloud, her second effort for Merge Records. And what a triumphant (sort of) hometown return it was. As many of you might know, Katie Crutchfield, although born and raised in Alabama, called Brooklyn home back in the 20-teens when her burgeoning career as Waxahatchee originally began to bloom.
The “other” Katy, the wonderful Katy Kirby, opened up the evening’s festivities with a terrific set which immediately had me wondering how I’d missed her debut album, Cool Dry Place, which was released last February on Keeled Scales Records. Kirby and her band played a light and breezy set of singer/songwriter pop music which set the tone for the upcoming Waxahatchee headlining set just perfectly. Kirby is certainly someone to keep an eye on and ear open for, especially if you have an appreciation for artists like Snail Mail, Lucy Dacus, Petal and Julien Baker.
After a brief break of 15 minutes or so, Bonny Dune took to the stage of Elsewhere right around 10:15, followed shortly thereafter by a beaming Katie Crutchfield, who as she walked on stage waved and smiled back at the adoring crowd. Bonny Dune, who hail from Detroit were Katie’s band on Saint Cloud and seem to be a perfect fit for her. Their style of play which can be lilting and peaceful, as well as forthcoming and powerful, compliments Crutchfield’s current head space for music to a tee.
Waxahatchee at Elsewhere
Opening the set up was “Oxbow,” which is also the opening song on Saint Cloud, and was followed by “Chapel Of Pines,” from 2018 EP, Great Thunder and “Can’t Do Much,” another Saint Cloud tune. These few songs were the warmup and Crutchfield seems a bit reserved at first. But with the fourth song of the set, Out In The Storm’s “Recite Remorse,” the show really began to take off. Crutchfield and her Bonny Dune bandmates provided the packed room another hour of music which was soothing and uplifting at the same time. By the time this show took place, the crew had been on the road already for seven weeks and the time together was clearly noticeable on stage. There was a camaraderie and synchronicity between singer and musicians which when experienced is pure magic.
All in all, they played the entire Saint Cloud album interspersed throughout the 20 something song set. Amongst the non Saint Cloud songs, Crutchfiled managed to fit in at least one song from each of her releases along with a couple of covers as well, including Gillian Welch’s “Wrecking Ball” and the encore finale of Dolly Parton’s “Light Of A Clear Blue Morning”.
Wednesday night at Elsewhere to a certain extent was more than a homecoming, but also almost a coming out party. When the crowd sang along to virtually every word of “Sparks Fly” during the encore, you couldn’t help but feel like Waxahatchee had crossed on to that next level of pop stardom which I say with the utmost respect and happiness for Crutchfield and all of her musical partners. She’s come a long way from the days of opening sets on Monday nights in Brooklyn to headlining her own shows at mid sized venues all over the country. Way to go Waxahatchee!
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Ray Rusinak)