Live review: Waxahatchee, Swearin’ at Stereo, 24/10/13

Waxahatchee-2The last time Glasgow saw the Katie Crutchfield was just four months ago but that was in a very different setting supporting the catchy pop stylings of Tegan and Sara at the ABC, and although she did pull off the standout set of the night it was from under the ruckus of a not so attentive crowd.

Maybe some stood up and took notice after her set when Sara described her as a “piece of bacon covered in chocolate” but that was after the event, still tonight is different, tonight she’s the centre of attentio, she’s the one everyone is here to see.

First though there’s a chance for Swearin’ to shine on their first visit to Glasgow, those who haven’t done their research might be slightly baffled as they get a double dose of Crutchfield tonight as Katie’s twin sister Alison fronts this Philadelphia outfit, along with Kyle Gilbride.

And after this set there’s no doubt that the talent in this family extends further than Katie; Swearin’ are a whole different beast from Waxahatchee though.

From the start they’re a full on burst of energy with Alison front and centre providing the more collected, melodic side of the performance while still maintaining that robust energy, while Gilbride’s nasal sneer provides a more traditional pop punk feel.

Swearin’ seems to have taken the Crutchfield sister’s last project P.S. Elliot to its next level expanding on their DIY pop punk and harnessing it into addictively fuzzy guitar pop.

Swearin-5Tonight they’re fun, engaging and loud, pulling off a confident swagger that comes with having two solid albums under your belt, tracks like ‘Kenosha’ and ‘Watered Down’ are stand outs in what will surely be the first and last time we see these guys in a support slot.

Where Alison and Swearin’ seem to have followed on from P.S. Elliot, Katie seems to have totally reinvented herself as Waxahatachee, but two superb album’s down the line there’s no one questioning it’s been the right decision.

Tonight the alternative folkstress is playing her first headline slot in Glasgow and she doesn’t seem flustered at all, and she needn’t be as she delivers her short, sweet songs confidently in her lush twang atop bouncing rhythms and occasionally walls of distortion.

This year’s Cerulean Salt has seen a more assured, polished Waxahatchee but it maintained all the charms of her under the radar lo-fi debut American Weekend, and both album get an airing tonight.

It’s near impossible to pick a stand out track as each maintains its own delights, Katie’s strong, frank song writing is laid bare through its total clarity and it does not suffer; it’s hard to not sing this girls praises.

The only thing that could have been taken advantage of tonight is the presence of both sisters, their cover of Grimes’ ‘Oblivion’ earlier in the year was rather impressive and could have maybe snuck an airing tonight.

Surely this won’t be the last time we see these sisters, and I’m sure they’ll both return to larger audiences; hopefully Glasgow will get to see them perform together in the not too distant future though.

more photos

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Ronnie Poffley

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