Sunday, August 13, 2017

Waxahatchee at Terminal West, Atlanta, August 11, 2017

Well, we did it!  Friday night, we actually stopped toiling at work/playing Fallout 4 long enough to get our fat asses out the door and finally go see to see a live show.  And it was a great one, fortunately, and thus encouraging for us to go out again and do it some more (we've been on a run of very occasional but good shows lately, including Washed Out at Variety Playhouse and Lonnie Holley at Eddie's Attic).

Opening the show was Baltimore-by-way-of-Athens' Outer Spaces. 

As the opening band so often is, Outer Spaces was a totally unknown entity to us, but we really liked the trio (singer/guitarist, drummer, and keys - no bass).  Frontwoman Cara Beth Satalino has a strong and clear-enough band to project over the drums and her own jangling guitar, and I'll be so bold to say that they have next-big-thing potential and with a little more exposure, they might be headliners of their own some day soon.

We saw the mid-bill band, Boston's own Palehound, a couple years open for an equally terrific band, Bully, at The Drunken Unicorn in one of the best shows of that particular year (2015, I think, but it might have been early 2016).

It would be an understatement to say that Ellen Kempner, Palehound's vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter, can do just about anything but seriously, is there anything she can't do?  During their set, her singing ranged from a pretty, indie folk-rock voice to growling blues and fuzzed-out punk, she laid down some stinging electric guitar lines when the song called for it, and she even brought it all down for a couple spare, intimate songs in the middle of Palehound's set (during the 2015 show, she was on stage alone for this part of the set; Friday night, the band just provided minimal accompaniment).  The set opener, Healthier Folk, is a pretty good example of the range of Palehound's sound.

So that was cool, and if that was all there was to the show, we would have gone home happy, but wait, as they say, there's more!  The headliner was Philadelphia-by-way-of-Alabama's Waxahatchee.

Waxahatchee is singer/guitarist Katie Crutchfield (for the umpteenth time, the whole evening consisted of female-fronted bands), and it probably didn't hurt the quality of the harmonies that her backup singer was her twin sister, Allison (who also put out a terrific album of her own earlier this year, and who opened for Waxahatchee when we saw them at Aisle 5 last year).  The band sounded incredibly tight, polished, and well-rehearsed, not hitting an off note or suffering a misdirected moment the entire set.  If one judges the quality of a live set by how similar the band sounds to their studio recordings, one would have been very impressed by Friday night's performance.  This is clearly Waxahatchee's moment, as their latest record, this year's Out In The Storm, is in our opinion their best yet and potential breakthrough recording, and on Friday night, Waxahatchee was clearly in command of the new material. 

So anyway, that was cool.  Three great sets by three great bands, including one new discovery (Outer Spaces), one all-too-rare appearance in Atlanta by one of our favorite New England bands (Palehound), and the witness of an artist hitting the peak of her creative abilities (Waxahatchee). 

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