Live Review: Waxahatchee and Swearin’ – Sound Control, Manchester – 25/10/2013

imageIt’s an abysmal night in Manchester; rain just pours in inconsistent patterns and making the hapless people in the queue outside Sound Control look like drenched puppies. Regardless of this miserable beginning, this reviewer has come to learn that the evening ahead is wonderfully rewarding.

Featuring former P.S. Eliot drummer Allison Crutchfield (who is also Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee’s sister), Brooklyn quartet Swearin’ inject life into the room after a patient hour.

With a sound recalling Jawbreaker and the Pixies, Swearin’ play indie punk with a lot of heart. The vocal interplay between Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride compliments well with the pair’s raw hooky guitar playing. Along with a steady bass and fine drumming, the band certainly has won over the audience before them. (4/5)

As the lights go down, so does the mood and the feel of the room. Backed with a full band, Katie Crutchfield a.k.a. Waxahatchee delivers a fine balance between energy and reservedness. Beginning with slow number ‘Bathtub’ this lulls the atmosphere into a sweet daze. Crutchfield’s tales are of the personal and reflective sort, about the relationships with partners and relatives. It provides a down to earth relatability which many can connect with.

The use of a full triad driven band provides the songs with a rich fullness. This is especially evident on the songs from her first LP
‘American Weekend’, which is mainly a solo acoustic record. Slower numbers like ‘Magic City Wholesale’ sound drearily compelling and tense, whilst ‘Grass Stain’ is injected with alt punk DNA and it sounds fantastic. Of course, let us not forget material from her latest album ‘Cerulean Salt’; these songs sound just as richly brilliant as they do on record. ‘Coast to Coast’ and ‘Misery Over Dispute’ hook you right into their melodious energy with ease.

After finishing, the audience demands more, and Crutchfield answers. Playing ‘I Think I Love You’ solo, she ends on a quiet and humble note. To those people who felt they were underpaid by that performance are entitled to their opinion, but for myself it ended perfectly and the aforementioned balance displays the best way of what Waxahatchee is as a creative outlet for Crutchfield. To sum it up, the night was a resounding success. (4/5)

4/5

Aaron Lohan (@ooran_loohan)

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