We arrived fairly early to a handful of people at Bar Le Ritz. The show was originally going to be at The Fairmount, but was changed last minute. I was able to catch up with Ellen, Jesse (drums) & Lars (new bassist) about the current tour with Waxahatchee. It was a busy day for them, Ellen was meeting with a guitar company today and proudly let her new guitar rip for the second half of their set. It’s a Godin Passion Custom Swamp Ash for those interested. As an opening band, you don’t feel the pressure of filling the room, so we thought this might be a very intimate show from the signs of it.
When Outer Spaces (Baltimore, MD) took the stage, the crowd was swelling nicely. Cara Beth Satalino & Co. played some Indie Rock that fit the bill nicely. Maybe because the keyboard amp was a little too loud for the first few songs, I wasn’t fully able to catch her voice. Things settled in nicely towards the middle of the set and they were enjoyable. They played songs from their 2016 Shedding Snake album along with some new songs.
Heavy Stone Poem
I Saw You
I Was Divided
Mint on the Sill
Palehound will soon embark on a headlining tour, but tonight, they would simply enjoy the ambiance and let loose. Ellen Kempner has come a long way from when I first interviewed her (Palehound Interview here) in November 2015. There was a shyness about Ellen that was endearing, but tonight I was seeing an artist mature and let the emotions behind the songs come out with intensity and passion.
I was taking before the show with Jesse Weiss (drums) about my new found talent of playing a very simple drum beat. I jokingly said that if something happened, I could fill in for him. Of course, I’m glad that didn’t happen as his skills massively outweigh mine. The addition of Lars on bass, a ball of energy on stage, made for a great set. They opened with Pet Carrot from the Bent Nail album but jumped right into a few songs from the newly released A Place I’ll Always Go with “If You Met Her.” Interestingly, the video was created by some students in Boston who pretty much took care of everything.
The catchy “Room” followed, which has been stuck in my head since last night. The set ended with a rock infused “Cinnamon” and the classic “Molly” which ended the set with a bang. The room reverberated with applause.
If You Met Her
At Night I’m Alright With You
There are two rules to follow for a Waxahatchee show:
- Don’t objectify them by shouting: “You’re hot!”
- If you are going to carry on a conversation, go to the back of the room.
Rule number one was made clear before the first chord, as one half of an inebriated couple yelled out that line. Katie Crutchfield asserted her position and sternly warned the dude to keep his comments to himself or he would be ejected from the venue.
On Twiter today, Katie said: “call me a diva, idgaf – but if some dude loudly objectifies me or my band when we’re on stage I will always go rogue & call it out.” You have to admire a woman who won’t let herself or her band be a victim of male stupidity.
I didn’t know what to expect from Waxahatchee, as I only knew a few songs, including the first one tonight “Recite Remorse” from the 2017 album Out in the Storm. The band came out in black suits, white shirts and black tie, apart from Katie who wore a black dress and twin sister Allison Crutchfield wore the black suit without the tie. Although most of the band played shoegaze style, there is a magnetic pull towards Katie. The band fit the tone of the songs, which I thoroughly enjoyed throughout this evening of discovery. Her voice was spot on, and I loved seeing her left eye do this little wink as she sang, as if she was digging deep into memories and bringing them into her performance. Just like the suits, the band was all business and brought an impressive performance for the now packed Ritz.
“Never Been Wrong” is catchy and gets you going. The crowd responded with much love at every song.
Of course, our distracting couple was back in the spotlight, as a deep conversation was underway. This time, Allison emphasized the first rule, and added that if you are going to have a deep conversation, go to the back of the room out of respect for the performance.
Back on track, we continued our evening with Waxahatchee playing many of the songs from Out in the Storm, some from Ivy Tripp and Cerulean Salt.
The set ended with “Peace and Quiet” which I’m sure Katie was directing at our faux pas couple.
The band came back for one song for the encore “Under a Rock” which was the only time we saw Katie laugh, most likely at the female counterpart of that distracting couple who was sitting on the stage facing the audience, oblivious that her conduct was distracting to the band. The second half of the song was either sung while laughing or not sung at all.
I enjoyed my evening and I would think the band would have appreciated a respectful crowd. Nonetheless, they performed for everybody else and you could tell from the room that the fans loved what they saw & heard.
Definitely a band to see again and we hope the next time, we have a crowd that shows respect for the performers and we enjoy a full set.
Katie – thanks for speaking up, making others in the room feel safe, as was the sentiment on Twitter. Bands come on stage and bear their soul, their deepest emotions. The least we can do is listen quietly, sing along if you know the lyrics, but don’t distract the band and those around you.
Misery Over Dispute
Never Been Wrong
Coast to Coast
A Little More
Peace And Quiet
Under a Rock