Camden Electric Ballroom – June 10th
Intimate isn’t a word often associated with a sea of a thousand faces; it’s a word that’s best reserved for the back end of beyond shows, the coffee shop congregations and the record store rendezvous. But, nestled amongst non-familiars united by a common cause, intimate is here, the first word that springs to mind. Perhaps it’s the clear camaraderie of those on stage, flitting between small talk and song, or perhaps it’s just their energy filtering slowly through the observant crowd that brings those watching as close to them as they are to one another.
PINKWASH kick the night off with all guns blazing and, it transpires, the math-rock duo from Philadelphia share not just their place of residence with the headline act today; drummer Ashley makes appearances with both Girlpool and Waxahatchee as the night progresses, the groups’ fellowship becoming ever more present with each appearance. As Cleo and Harmony, Girlpool virtuosos, take the reigns, it continues to prove increasingly hard not to feel a part of something quite cozy. The combination of their sharp tongued lyrics and contagious chemistry is more than evident throughout the show, with newer tracks – taken from recently released Before The World Was Big – and old receiving equal acclaim. As their set draws to a close so do their dazzling displays of friendship; left with little more enticing than the thought of infiltrating Cleo and Harmony’s BFF bubble, we bid farewell to one of the most promising teams in new music right now.
What Katie Crutchfield brings to the stage is a continuation of this. She’s an unassuming character but that in no way diminishes the warmth that exudes from her performance and every move. There’s a sense of family here, and not only because sister Crutchfield, Alison (Swearin’), is at the helm; the band breeze through the set with the ease of a group who truly know the ins and outs of the talents one another possess. Precedence is given to the pure musicality of the evening, with tracks from Cerulean Salt and American Weekend filling the room as successfully as those from newest release Ivy Tripp; opener ‘Under A Rock’ proves just as powerful live as on record. Taking to the stage solo to finish the night, Crutchfield silences the Ballroom with the more delicate ditties in her cannon. From ‘Grass Stain’ to ‘Noccalula’, the absence of a full band works well, leaving the lasting impression one of nostalgia and profundity, apt given the overwhelming surge of benevolence that radiates so consistently around the room.