Waxahatchee @ Stereo, Glasgow, 15 June
Something’s changed. When Katie Crutchfield first brought Waxahatchee to the UK in 2013, there was a tangible nervousness surrounding her confessional pop, with skeletal arrangements echoing their fragile confidence. That’s nowhere to be seen tonight; a five-piece line-up – replete with Katie’s twin sister Allison, also of the Swearin’ parish, on extra guitar and spine-tingling harmonies – has guts to go with the excellent songs from latest album Ivy Tripp.
They come roaring out of the traps with the surging pop of Under A Rock; unfussy, unhurried and gloriously to-the-point. Where studio versions leave notes to hang heavy with anticipation, here the space is filled with a grungey fuzz and muscular delivery – not such a sharp left turn, perhaps, but it lends a new authority to older, quieter friends like Cerulean Salt’s Lively, and amplifies the joy lurking beneath these subtly sophisticated hooks. Their infectiousness soon spreads to a delighted crowd.
Katie’s still not one for conversation, although that seems moot given the conspiratorially intimate nature of her delivery – curiously, her fine lyrics remain perfectly audible despite the three-guitar attack that underpins most of the set. A show-stopping encore sees her re-emerge with guitarist Keith Spencer for a beautifully unadorned run through Grass Stain, with gentle chords framing the tale of a doomed and tragically unromantic encounter. “I can’t give you what you want,” she sings matter-of-factly, gazing at the crowd as they stare adoringly back. Tonight at least, the new-and-improved Waxahatchee have already given Stereo so much more than that.