Monday, November 20, 2017

Sparks Fly/It Never Ends

That's what I needed, a healthy does of estrogen.

It's not like I hadn't seen music this week. Hell, I'd been out for music Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and now again tonight. It was the kind of music I needed.

When I bought two tickets to see Waxahatchee over two months ago, I had no idea who I might invite to join me in seeing the all-female band on tour for their magnificent new record "Out in the Storm," which, everyone agrees is a meditation on a failed relationship.

I believe in pop circles, they call that a breakup album.

Since I'm the last person to hold such subject matter against an album, I've been listening to it a lot since those sunny, warm days of September gave way to the sharp winds and chilly nights of November. Tonight was the pay-off to hear them live.

It was also Mac's birthday, so who better to share my extra ticket with than the birthday girl, who'd already had two birthday dinners, a visit to the VMFA to see the new Terracotta Army exhibit, birthday cake and a disco nap, all before we met up at 6:45?

We were the first arrivals for the show at Capital Ale House, although the Waxahatchee devoted weren't far behind. We met a pregnant couple who'd seen the band last year when they'd played Cap Ale and another couple who'd discovered them only because she'd heard one song on an online radio station and followed through on looking up the artist because, like them, she was from Birmingham, Alabama.

But I also ran into a good friend and her cute husband, longtime fans of the band who'd seen them at Hopscotch, but then they're cool like that and always see new bands before anybody else. Since I'd last seen her, she'd learned that her Mom had named her after a line in a Barry Manilow song and was still a bit traumatized over that.

We all have our crosses to bear.

Turns out that fabulous Cap Ale show a year ago was the first night of Waxahatchee's tour and tonight was the last, and it had been a non-stop year touring for the all-female band in between. The good news for the capacity crowd (in a room with only a couple tables and chairs tonight, so a standing show, not typical of my experiences at Capital Ale House) was how tight and comfortable the band was with the material at this point.

From the opening of "Recite Remorse," which does the quiet-loud-quiet thing a la the Pixies so well, the band was fully committed to showing off what so much time on the road can do and the crowd of devoted fans - because you're not seeing a band like this on a Sunday night if you have only passing acquaintance with them - sang along, bopped in place or at least stared raptly.

They alternated between raucous '90s-sounding guitar heavy songs and simpler piano-based songs, always with Katie's lovely yet strong voice overtaking the music (and her twin sister Allison providing harmony, guitar and keys) to deliver smart and sensitive lyrics chronicling both relationships and lessons learned.

Death grip on some feigned humility
Effort executed beautifully
My pride clenched tight in my shaky hand
Till I let go and buried my head in the sand

It doesn't matter how much music you've heard lately, when what you need to hear is women playing songs about love and life, nothing else will do.

And if that requires reciting some remorse, so be it. We've all been there.

No comments:

Post a Comment