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Archive for the ‘Waxahatchee’ Category

[ATTENDED: October 3, 2019] Des Ark

I had never heard of Des Ark.  This show was a double bill of Screaming Females and Team Dresch and I had kind of forgotten there was another opening act.  So I didn’t look into them at all.

I was amused when the drummer came out and was texting on his phone before their set began.

Turns out that drummer is Ashley Arnwine who I had seen play with Waxahatchee (that band was fantastic, too).  He is also in the band Pinkwash.

The other two guys in the band were brothers Chris Taylor and Mike Taylor who were both in Pg. 99.

But these three guys are just with the band for this short (5 day) tour.

Des Ark is really the creation of singer/guitarist Aimee Argote.  Des Ark has three albums out Loose Lips Sink Ships (2005), Battle of the Beards (2007) and Don’t Rock the Boat, Sink the Fucker (2011).   In between these she released three live albums from Durham, North Carolina radio station WXDU: WXDU v. 1 (2006); WXDU v.2 (2007) and Live at WXDU Vol. 3 (2013).  On these she plays new songs which may or may not make the next record.

Note the dates. That last WXDU record was from 2013.  And, it turns out that Des Ark hasn’t played live (despite being amazing) for over three years.  Why is that?

 because main member Aimee Argote quit music for the past three years. She posted a lengthy statement explaining on her hiatus on Instagram, which reads in part: “I left music because I felt unsafe, exhausted, unsupported, poor as shit, and my body was super, SUPER fucking broken. I had no plan, no health insurance (w/ chronic health issues), no stability, and I knew I would never have consistency in my life or in my relationships if I was going to keep touring as much as it would take for me to make a [pretty shitty] living.” She also later added, “Being talented isn’t enough. It simply isn’t enough to keep me or others safe in an industry that tries to destroy women, POC, and queers at every turn.”

But I didn’t know anything about this when Aimee came out on stage and started playing and singing. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 23, 2018] Courtney Barnett

S. and I saw Courtney Barnett back in May when her latest album Tell Me How You Really Feel just came out.  She did a few shows where she played the whole album in its entirety.  Our show sold out very quickly and I was lucky to get tickets.

This time around she played the larger Fillmore and did not sell out the venue.  Is it better to play a small club and sell out, or a larger one and not sell out?  I’m still not sure why this one didn’t.

So why would we go to see someone five months after we had just seen her?

Well, primarily because I thought that this show would be different–bigger, longer and a bit more fun. Not that the first wasn’t fun–it was.  But at that show, she had a mission to play that album and make us like it.  This time, we already had the album and we liked it, we just wanted to hear it again!

And man was this show terrific.

I assumed she would not play the album straight through again.  But I shouldn’t have been surprised that she opened with the first two songs.  The stage was bathed in red (terrible for pictures so I didn’t bother trying to get any).  However, I love watching her play guitar–her technique is so bizarre to me and yet it sounds wonderful.  It must hurt like the dickens.  You can see her playing with no pick very clearly in this clip from “City Looks Pretty.”  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 23, 2018] Waxahatchee

I really can’t get over how many artists I have seen twice this year.

I saw Waxahatchee back in April.  Katie Crutchfield and her band headlined Union Transfer.  I had no idea that she would be opening for Courtney Barnett when Courtney came back through town, but there she was.

I had enjoyed her set and was looking forward to hearing her and her band again.

So I was a little disappointed to find out that this iteration of Waxahatchee was just her.  Katie has a wonderful voice and writes pretty songs.  But when I saw them in April, I found the few acoustic solo songs she did to be a bit slow for my tastes.  Plus her band was so good! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 16, 2018] Waxahatchee

I really enjoyed the newest Waxahatchee album and I was keen on seeing them/her.  Waxahatchee is more or less the work of Katie Crutchfield.

It amused me that I had purchased a ticket for this show and then a few weeks later I got a ticket for Superchunk and their opening band was Swearin’.  One of the lead singers in Swearin’ is Allison Crutchfield, Katie’s sister.  So I’d be seeing both Crutchfield sisters in less than a month.

I also learned recently that Allison usually performs with Katie in Waxahatchee when they tour.  And she did.  So I have seen and heard Allison Crutchfield quite a lot in the last month or so.

They played for an hour and ten minutes.  How do I know this?  Because the guy in front of me filmed the entire show on his phone and I could see the timer at the top.  And not just standing still and filing, he was swooping and angling, zooming in and trying to get every scene.  It was a little creepy to be behind him, I must admit.

Both Katie and Allison called Philadelphia home for a while, so this was a homecoming for them.  Katie said that she wrote most of the new album while in Philly.   (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 16, 2018] Hurray for the Riff Raff

 I knew of Hurray for the Riff Raff (I love the band name) from a couple of songs, but it wasn’t until their most recent release that I learned that lead singer (and really the constant of the band) Alynda Segarra was not only Puerto Rican (she calls herself Nuyorican) but was active in her commitment to Latino causes.

This commitment is evident on their new album The Navigator which explores many aspects of Puerto Rican culture  and music, but keeps it wrapped in a rocking New York vibe.  Segarra is also a striong feminist, writing songs for an about women.  Her stage presence is a striking combination of “don’t fuck with me” and “I’m going to have a good time.”

Segarra is an excellent front woman. She commands a room and gets everyone involved in her songs.  She told empowering and infuriating stories to introduce the songs which made them even more engaging.

Most of the set came from their new album The Navigator which was great because I love the diversity of the disc.  There were a couple of songs in the middle of the set (which turned out to be older songs I think) that were a little flat musically, but the rest of the set was dynamite. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 16, 2018] Bedouine

When I bought the tickets for Waxahatchee I don’t think I knew who Bedouine was.  Then I saw her on NPR and was absolutely struck by her. I don’t really know what it was, something about her singing style I’m sure, but she was mesmerizing.

So I was really excited to see her live.  I didn’t really even know that much about her:

She was born Azniv Korkezian but chose the artist name Bedouine from the Arabic-speaking Bedouin people, who wander the Middle Eastern desert as nomads.  Azniv herself was born in Aleppo, Syria to Armenian parents; she grew up on an American compound in Saudi Arabia. Her family moved to the U.S [when she was] age 10.

Azniv came out on stage with her guitar and a glass of water and an electric candle on a stool.

She began singing and for 30 minutes we were enveloped in a feeling of warmth and good tidings.  Ironically, she herself was cold up on stage (it was pretty chilly that April night) and she had to warm her hands up after almost every song (the electric candle was no help).

Despite fact that she plays a very quiet guitar and her voice never rises above a quiet deepness, and despite the fact that the headliners were noisier bands, she commanded the room.

She had no set list (and no capo, she lamented after a few songs).  She played seven or eight songs including a couple of new ones.  There was even one song that did not have a name yet (she was looking for suggestions).  I’m looking forward to what she picks.

Her style doesn’t deviate all that much between songs, but her lyrics are interesting and there’s her voice–you can hear virtually every breath as she exhales.  It’s really wonderful.  I enjoyed that she has a song called “Nice and Quiet” which sums up her style quite well.

But despite the dark lighting and reasonably serious subject matter, she was fully engaged with us.  I was only two people from the stage and it often felt like she was singing to each of us individually.  She even made some jokes to the audience: “This song is like one beat faster, so hold on to your hats.”

She also thanked us for coming early and listening to songs we didn’t know.  But “Solitary Daughter” drew quite a reaction of familiarity which made her smile.

I don’t have a setlist, but I’m pretty sure she played

  1. You Kill Me
  2. Nice and Quiet
  3. Back to You
  4. Skyline
  5. new song
  6. Solitary Daughter
  7. Dusty Eyes
  8. One of These Days

There’s a fascinating interview with her on World Cafe.  She talks about working as a sound editor for reality TV before she started singing .  It’s fascinating to hear that she worked on: Cutthroat Kitchen; Catfish: The TV Show and The American Baking Competition.  She describes it as a little soul sucking.

Glad she left that life for this one.

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[ATTENDED: April 4, 2018] Swearin’

I was so excited to see Superchunk, I didn’t really care who opened for them.  But I was rather excited to see that Allison Crutchfield’s band Swearin’ was reuniting for this tour.

I didn’t know the band, but in the past year or so I have heard (and liked) more and more from Allison Crutchfield and her sister Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee).  It’s not fair to lump them together, but they were in a band together at one point and Allison has toured with Katie’s band, so I think it’s fair to discuss them in the same paragraph.

But this show was all about Allisson (and Swearin’ co-founder Kyle Gilbride, who might be overshadowed somewhat in the Crutchfield love).  On drums was original drummer Jeff Bolt and on bass was their friend Amanda Bartley (of the band All Dogs). (more…)

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