The WVKC-sponsored performance of Katie Crutchfield from Waxahatchee, as well as the opener Nectar, played to a full audience in the Taylor Lounge last weekend.
Nectar, the Champaign-based band, allowed the audience to unhinge and let loose. Listeners varied from those simply bobbing their heads to those dancing freely. Whether the students were previous fans of Nectar or were hearing them for the first time that night, they all showed their appreciation and support for the band. Although Nectar is comprised of millennial musicians, they still performed with ease and maturity. When tuning their guitars in between songs, they added witty commentary to fill the silence, saying they enjoyed the cafeteria room with all the cookies and cereal. Nectar started the mood off noisy and wild as the attendees head-banged and jumped carelessly.
Opening acts are conventionally used to allow the audience to relax and enter the concert-vibe. Additionally, they add further anticipation to the main act. Concert-goers chant the artist’s name and scream when they appear. However, Waxahatchee entered cooly and nonchalantly, and the audience stayed quiet and unaffected, as if they didn’t notice her entrance. Once the listeners neared the stage for Crutchfield’s performance, she said, “I’m going to change the vibe here.” Switching from Nectar’s rambunctiousness, Waxahatchee played with quiet reservation. Ironically, her music featured intensely personal lyrics, like from “Bathtub” Ñ “And I tell you not to love me/But I still kiss you when I want to” Ñ yet her presence remains shy and private on stage. It seemed as if she just wanted the music to speak for itself.
Waxahatchee’s commitment to reservation lead the audience to listen so intently that the only thing to be heard besides her performance were the snapping of photos. Attendees sat down, laid back, and rested on each other as she sang songs from all three of her albums. The quiet intensity of her music allowed the audience to become still and focus entirely on the emotion of the music. Knox students were able to come together and have a mutually enlightening experience as they listened to Crutchfield’s soothing vocals. Before performing her last few songs, Katie paused to make her appreciation for the audience’s behavior known, creating a contrast between the calm and respectful audience she experiences at colleges and the rowdy middle-aged men she comes across when playing at bars. The swift change from the audience’s boisterous response toward Nectar to the peaceful response towards Waxahatchee shows that Knox students understand the differing ways to experience music.