Waxahatchee Was a Fledgling Legend in Toronto

Massey Hall, April 23

With Good Morning

Photo: Jennifer Hyc

BY Allie GregoryPublished Apr 24, 2024

With the haze of the full moon just breaking through the clouds in Toronto on Tuesday evening, Massey Hall prepared for a fledgling legend to take flight.

Make no mistake, Katie Crutchfield — better known as Waxahatchee — has been at this for a while. Enjoying indie cred through the early 2010s, with underground faves like American Weekend and Cerulean Salt, the Alabama singer-songwriter broke through with 2017's Out in the Storm, and later, shattered expectations with 2020's critically adored country outing, Saint Cloud. This year, she treated fans to some of her best work yet with Tigers Blood — another unmistakable album-of-the-year contender.

So it feels only natural that the musician would grace the city's most esteemed stage at this point in her career; legends are born at Massey, and you couldn't help but feel the weight of history unfolding before you when Crutchfield marched onto the scene, unzipped broken mirror Tabis shining silver in the spotlights, matching her chrome face glitter, which she revealed upon tossing her signature Kansas City trucker hat into the crowd.


With the stage already christened by Melbourne rock duo Good Morning, whose chipper new album Good Morning Seven saw its tunes played out by a six-piece band made up of guitars, synths and a violin, Crutchfield's multi-instrumentally equipped band were appropriately primed to back her. MJ Lenderman was sadly absent, no doubt occupied with his own performing commitments, but the remaining performers, including the one and only Spencer Tweedy, held it down for her — pedal steel guitar, mellotron keys and a banjo here and there set the tone for a decidedly country-leaning gig.

As such, most tracks were culled from 2020's output and onward, Tigers Blood making up the majority of the set. Opening with "3 Sisters," the band moved comfortably through Waxahatchee's newer catalogue, putting extra bounce into Plains' "Problem with It," and Crutchfield doubling down on her signature lip curl during "Bored."

At times overwhelmed by the evidence of her own star power as she stared into the multi-tiered, historic venue, Crutchfield seemed to hold back tears in moments of awe. Her voice cracked a touch through "Witches," and she paused between songs to acknowledge the immensity of the achievement; "When you dream about being a musician, this is what you see." Perhaps it was this brief foray back into reality that caused a stumble into "Crowbar," but the band and Crutchfield handled it with grace, starting the song over without much fuss. By the time they got to "Lilacs," everything was back in order.


With all the service to Saint Cloud, Tigers Blood and Plains' I Walked with You a Ways, fans were sadly not treated to any back catalogue hits, home to some of her best hidden gems. That said, 2018's Great Thunder rework "Chapel of Pines" did make the cut, proving that the artist can recognize a full-circle moment while it's happening. One among a four-song encore, Crutchfield's showmanship on the track toward the end of the night flowed out of her, perhaps a natural state for a project named after a creek.

With all its subtle glamour, the show marked a new era for Waxahatchee, one which we'll surely see play out in the months and years to come. In tracing the steps over the decade-plus that got her to this point in her career, it's easy to recognize why Crutchfield's songwriting was finally given the stage it deserves. 

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