After the Covid-19 pandemic prevented artists from touring for over a year and half, Waxahatchee held off from performing in support of 2020 album Saint Cloud until late last year. Katie Crutchfield and her band took to the stage at The National in Richmond on Monday to finally share the songs from their critically acclaimed release live, and were met with a packed crowd who’d been waiting in anticipation for her return.
Following the opener Madi Diaz’s beautifully intimate performance of some soul-crushing numbers from her recent History Of A Feeling, Crutchfield and co. took to the stage and jumped right into Saint Cloud’s intro, “Oxbow”. From the pure jolt of energy that came as the band all joined in together, it became abundantly clear to all that they’d been waiting for this moment just as anxiously as we had.
They jumped back and forth, playing songs from the new record and going back to some classics. With the support of a full band, “Recite Remorse” filled the cavernous room with sonic tension, threatening to burst the ceiling. Crutchfield switched between electric and acoustic, and the crowd erupted in excitement as she began strumming the chords to the bouncy hit “Lilacs”.
The group followed with “The Eye”, and her voice seemed to smooth out the atmosphere in the room. Crutchfield handles the weight of her lyrics admirably in her Birmingham indie folk vocal style, and the songs carry you along as she and the band sway in unison.
She also shared one of the five songs she wrote for a new Apple TV series El Deafo, called “Tomorrow”, and played a cover of Lucinda Williams’ “Fruit of My Labor”, which appeared on the expanded version of their album Saint Cloud +3 last year.
She ended the show with the album’s title track, followed by the fan favorite “Fire” before leaving the stage to a thunderous applause.
As many acts make their eventual return to the stage, Waxahatchee is one you don’t want to miss. The band brings a newfound energy to the country ensemble sound evident on many of the tracks on the new album, and Crutchfield’s performing some of her best and most brutally honest songs with a passion that’s hard to match. They’ve also found a great balance in the setlist that counters the mellow songs with upbeat jam band anthems that melt away the despair. Crutchfield’s voice and their chemistry reaches new heights on songs like “Can’t Do Much” that make the show so very worth it.