To open the show, Waxahatchee lead vocalist Katie Crutchfield belted “I was losing my mind, I was dancing with death” from the band’s tune “Recite Remorse.” Although the packed crowd wasn’t dancing with death, the jams caused everyone to let their minds run rampant and sway freely to the thick drum beats and impressive vocal harmonies from the five-piece band.
The indie rock group visited High Noon Saloon on Thursday as part of their tour to promote their newest album, Out in the Storm, which was released just last week. The album strays from the uniform vibes of Crutchfield’s older projects under the name Waxahatchee, leaning closer to the rock end of the spectrum and further from punk. These progressions were apparent in the band’s performance.
Following punk rock openers Snail Mail and Cayetana, who both got the crowd’s heads banging, the band hit the stage looking like a rain cloud from the storm the album is named after, costumed in all black and shredding three electric guitars that created thunderous vibrations.
Their hour-long set mimicked the simplicity of their appearance; the artists did not interact with the audience much beyond a “thank you” between songs, and many of the tunes, particularly their newer tracks, ran together in a string of similar-sounding guitar riffs. They squeezed 18 songs into their set, but moved quickly between each one, making the concert feel almost rushed, with each song blending together. The transitions were seamless and kept the flow of the concert going, but at the same time, it felt too quick.
Crutchfield was joined by her sister, Allison Crutchfield, who harmonized flawlessly with her for every song, but was especially strong on “Silver,” another track off the new album that picked up the pace from the warm-up, low-key opener. Electric guitarist Ali Donohue charmed during this performance, ripping dream-like, long notes from her pale pink guitar.
The band treated the audience to older ditties like “Poison” off of their 2015 album Ivy Tripp, which was followed by “Misery Over Dispute” from Cerulean Salt, their 2013 release. They also weaved several slow tunes with their faster tracks, including “Sparks Fly,” a new ballad.
After their regular set ended with a series of rhythmic drum crashes and hair-whipping guitar solos, Waxahatchee returned for an encore, and Crutchfield said “We’re going to do an old song a little differently.” They played their popular, upbeat song, “La Loose,” but stripped and slowed it down so Crutchfield’s powerful voice stood out, allowing the audience to relish every note.
The set felt polished, and the band seemed to dictate each song with a sense of precision and devotion to their work. Although the set may have lacked intimacy between Waxahatchee and the audience, everyone kept bouncing to the beat and must have left, like I did, in awe of the roaring vocals that emanated from the powerful lead singer.