Katie Crutchfield, the mind behind Waxahatchee, showed off her artistic and lyrical intellect on stage for the first of two sold-out shows.
The no-frills set started out with “Breathless,” the sole backing bandmate using a vibrating bassline in place of the studio track’s usual synthesizers. The set began and ended as a very stripped-down performance, Crutchfield’s fluttery vocals the only true melody in the room. From the start, the two played new songs, speaking about making decisions. The words of chorus from the first unreleased track, “I left home with nothing,” rang over and over.
Crutchfield dove into a more upbeat strum pattern as she played the track, “Silver.” A high-fi departure from Ivy Tripp, the song got the listless crowd moving a little. They continued to sway with “Sparks Fly” as layers of light silken guitar and bass intermingling with Crutchfield’s full, rough and empowering vocals.
The set ended with another synth, loop-tracking piece, “La Loose.” But, of course, the bassist stood in for rhythm elements this time. Crutchfield yelled the lyrics as she played a slow, simple guitar riff.
When the The New Pornographers took the stage, the wall lights formed in the shape of a diamond lit up, red and blue. Whiteout Conditions, the band’s latest release, marks the return of the supergroup. They started with a new song, “High Ticket Attractions,” contrasting dynamisms with Waxahatchee.
With eight members dancing while playing driving melodies and rhythms, The New Pornographers had a lot of harmonies to manage. But, they used it to their advantage. Neko Case, A.C. Newman and Simi Sernaker bantered back and forth on the track as Joe Seiders clashed cymbals to the beat and keyboardists ran their fingers through melodies.
The New Pornographers wrapped up the first night of their 9:30 Club visit with three encore tracks, with crowd-favorite “The Bleeding Heart Show” ending it all. The crowd grooved to the songs as much as the band did, all the way until the end.