A few minutes into her set, after blazing through “Under a Rock” and “Misery over Dispute”, frontwoman Katie Crutchfield noticed the visibly positive crowd reaction and remarked “I guess I should keep coming back”. That Tuesday night was the third time Waxahatchee has visited the Triangle in the past year; one previous show at Cat’s Cradle and one at this year’s Hopscotch Festival. Crutchfield’s songwriting is versatile, ranging from the haunting low-fi ballads of her debut American Weekend to grungy 90’s rock of her first Merge release from earlier this year, Ivy Tripp. In contrast to her solo acoustic set at Hopscotch, this show leaned heavily towards the latter. Neither Crutchfield nor her bandmates touched an acoustic guitar for the duration of the set.
The high point of the show was a rearrangement of the somber American Weekend highlight “Grass Stain” to fit into the sound and attitude of the new record. Many of the lyrics, such as “I don’t care that I’m too young to be unhappy” felt more rebellious than melancholy in this new context. While I would not have complained if more of the gorgeous acoustic songs of Waxahatchee’s early work were performed, Crutchfield showed how capable and confident she at delivering this new sound. Closing the show with a performance of my favorite Cerulean Salt track “Dixie Cups and Jars”, she displayed the powerful lyrics and great guitar riffs that make her such a fantastic songwriter.
The opening acts Weyes Blood and Try the Pie also put on solid performances. Try the Pie’s upbeat and straightforward rock music to get the night rolling was contrasted by the wistful atmospheric sound and winding vocal melodies brought by Weyes Blood. Natalie Mering of Weyes Blood showed up for her set alone, bringing just an acoustic guitar, effects pedals, and an iPhone. The guitar was run through a variety of pedals that are more often paired with an electric setup, and the iPhone was used to supply airy synths and percussion. It was an unusual but hypnotizing performance that provided a great segue into the main act.