Waxahatchee (photo: Kaiya Gordon)
My history with Waxahatchee is one that’s simple, but especially sentimental.
It is an obsession brought to me by another friend putting a song from Waxahatchee’s debut American Weekend on a mix. This led me into full-blown love for both Katie and Allison Crutchfield, because the mix included songs from their early project P.S. Eliot, too. The devotion became real, and eventually I caught Waxahatchee live at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass’ “Conor Oberst and Friends” Friday showcase in 2014. Since then, Waxahatchee’s music has become a home to me. A place where I know all the exits. On Friday, July 28, I finally caught Waxahatchee with a full band and finally realized how home the music really is to me.
I no longer try to be up front at concerts, but sometimes you get trapped in the front just by being on time for the first band (which everyone should really try doing all the time). What starts as the easiest place to stand becomes an impossible place to escape. You attempt to become friends with all those that surround you, but there are always those fans that are up front for the sole purpose of the being AT THE FRONT. Those fans, the so devoted that sometimes the hisses come out when you ask them if it’s OK to just stand next to them by the stage because you feel faint, can become your friends, but are more likely to be the ones that give you the evil eye. Beside them are the devoted and over-energized to exist, the loud ones, the drunk ones, the know-every-lyric-to-each-song-but-will-definitely-sing-them-wrong-but-hopefully-not-louder-than-the-band. On the other side, you got the kid and her dad, or is that her boyfriend? Better to not overthink that one.
Then the first band starts and every distraction is vanished because Snail Mail makes you listen. Not because Snail Mail is loud and attention-grabbing, but because the moment it hits you, you know the feeling Lindsey Jordan felt when the song was written. Snail Mail feels like the musical interpretation of the everlasting sigh we all imagined we would have left in our teens. More like the everlasting sigh we hoped would stay behind, but never does. That sigh is part of life, and Snail Mail grabs onto that feeling giving it a life that makes the sigh feel less painful.
Cayetana is a more energetic band; the Philadelphian trio is one I’ve been excited about for a while, constantly telling people about their cover of “Age of Consent” by New Order and how it is one of my favorite covers. Though they did not sing that cover, their set was more than I had been expecting. An energized moment of joy and forgetting how anxious it felt to be stuck at the front of the stage.
Then the moment everyone who came there too early and those that came there late had been waiting for happened: Waxahatchee. The moment they all stepped on stage, I felt that pre-teen joy of seeing someone you admire. There was definitely a handful of fan screeches floating through the Fillmore. People so excited that they started to mosh. A respectable mosh. I felt the way my Catholic studies taught me church should feel like. Though churches usually make me feel like I am suffocating, and here I felt like the clutch that was choking me into panic was finally letting go. I was at the church of Waxahatchee. Katie Crutchfield was my priestess and her band the preachers. Us, the fans, the crowd, the followers. Instead of telling us everything we do was a sin, she sang about the feelings many pretend we don’t have. She gave us all the support circle we’ve been trying to find since preschool. And I danced, I let go of my default — panicked — and welcomed what I always try to be — unafraid. I cried in public, and even made the folk who wouldn’t let anyone take their spot hiss at me.
Waxahatchee gave us a show worth writing about, and here I am writing about it. I don’t know many who don’t love the Crutchfields and everything they have brought to the world, but if you are out there, go see Waxahatchee live. Join me in the love of Waxahatchee.