Swearin @ Rickshaw Stop 12/2/13 - photo by Nicole L Browner

Swearin', who took stage at the Rickshaw Stop on Monday night, is the band Pink Slip wanted to be. The Philadelphian/Brooklyn punk pop project of Allison Crutchfield packs all the appeal of a mainstream act with enough grit to still seem edgy. A. Crutchfield (in a Smashing Pumpkins shirt) is keenly aware. She's clearly honed her voice to fit into the fuzzy bed of voluminous guitars while members Kyle Gilbride, Keith Spencer, and Jeff Bolt support. Gilbride also provided vocals on some tracks, like "Here to Hear," which Swearin' hit third.

Waxahatchee @ Rickshaw Stop 12/2/13 - photo by Nicole L Browner

Waxahatchee, led by Katie Crutchfield (and sister to Swearin's Allison), headlined the evening. Katie's sound is a sweeter counterpart to her sister's, and surges and retreats with more earnest implications. The Crutchfields have made some serious strides since their last joint band, P.S. EliotCerulean Salt, Waxahatchee's release earlier this year, was warmly received for its devastating lines, recounting the details of growing up in a time where love is flawed and morality is fluid-—where ideals are dead and people grow up realizing the world isn't gold.

Katie Crutchfield's honest, dynamic presence settled into Waxahatchee's sound nicely. Dealing the audience a cover of Mama Cass' "Make Your Own Kind of Music," which brilliantly complemented Cerulean Salt's main themes, K. Crutchfield dove into a more lighthearted recognition of independence and freedom.

Waxahatchee @ Rickshaw Stop 12/2/13 - photo by Nicole L Browner

Towards the end of Waxahatchee's set, the Rickshaw Stop's lights went out. While I have been to dozens of shows here, this was the first time I ever remember seeing this happen. The house turned on the stringed Christmas lights crossing the room's ceiling and low stage lights as a substitute in the meantime, as Waxahatchee played on.

Though Katie was clearly uncomfortable (and even asked for the lights to be brought back on), they looked beautiful. It was unfussy--intimate, glowy and unadorned. It felt like a show no one else would see, if only briefly while the house readjusted their lights. It was as if any kind of sheen had been lifted, and Waxahatchee was telling us a secret, a truth no one else would know.

Cerulean Salt will surely be on many best-of lists this year, and their show at the Rickshaw proved why. Check out the album here, via NME.

Joyride

San Francisco's own Joyride, second billed after Crabapple, took stage after lead vocalist Jenna Marx introduced them. She is was playing double duty as the vocalist of both bands. Though the two bands had a very different vibe, Joyride was clearly the more polished of the two.

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