Waxahatchee, the musical face of Birmingham native Katie Crutchfield, has been going strong for over a decade, but last year’s Saint Cloud may be Crutchfield’s masterpiece.
She has always been a strong songwriter, but these last couple of records have really showcased Katie Crutchfield’s songwriting talents comparable to the best in the business, especially in Waxahatchee’s most recent LP, Saint Cloud, which came out last year on Merge Records. It’s a ride from beginning to the ending “St. Cloud,” which sounds like it was strummed out on the front porch while the sun sinks behind the trees.
With Covid-19 putting the brakes on touring for the last year and a half, the tour for Saint Cloud had been pushed back until the later half of 2021. I’d seen Waxahatchee perform a few times before, but it had been so long and certainly Friday night at the Lincoln Theatre was the biggest venue and biggest audience — the show being sold out shortly after being announced — in which I’d seen her perform. But I think this show may have been my favorite.
On Oct. 8, the evening starting off with Big Star’s “Ballad of El Goodo” playing over the speakers as Katie and the rest of her band walked onto the stage. And Katie and the band opened with Saint Cloud opener, “Oxbow” followed by “Chapel of Pines,” which sounded great with a full band.
Some older songs were transformed, like “Recite Remorse,” which really became another song on-stage from what I heard on Out in the Storm a few years back. It sounded upbeat, full of promise.
Watch the official music video for “Recite Remorse” by Waxahatchee on YouTube:
Taking a breath in between songs, Katie mentioned that she had been to the Lincoln Theatre one time before, in the crowd, watching one of her musical hero’s Loretta Lynn (by the way, that was a fantastic night, having been there myself!). And after a few of my favorites — “Hell” and “Silver” — Crutchfield introduced her band, most from the Detroit band, Bonny Doon, with Bobby Colombo on guitar, Jake Kmieck on drums, Bill Lennox on guitar, with Eliana Athayde on bass, and Bill Lennox taking over vocals for song “Long Wave” with Katie on harmony.
Although most of the songs in their set were from the new LP, there were surprises like “Peace and Quiet” from Waxahatchee’s sophomore, Cerulean Salt, and a fantastic cover of Gillian Welch’s “Wrecking Ball.” And Crutchfield even brought out an early tune, “Noccalula” which back on Waxahatchee’s debut, American Weekend was all piano, referencing Waxahatchee Creek in Alabama where she grew up, with a full band it became a waltzy country tune that felt well at home in this big hall.
The biggest applause before the encore was the single, “Fire,” which got this capacity crowd up and out of their seats. But the biggest moment came at the end of Waxahatchee’s encore when they performed Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning,” dedicated to “all of you” that had everyone clapping along as Crutchfield, arms outstretched letting the light from the audience in. Now that’s how you cap off a show!
Waxahatchee continues their tour through October with a return to the Lincoln Theatre on Oct. 18! Check out more here.
The setlist included:
Chapel of Pines
Can’t Do Much
Longwave (Bonny Doon song)
Peace and Quiet
Wrecking Ball (Gillian Welch cover)
Under a Rock
Light of a Clear Blue Morning (Dolly Parton cover)
Here are more photos of Waxahatchee performing at The Lincoln Theatre on Oct. 8, 2021. All photos copyright and courtesy of David LaMason.