Tag Archives: Allison Crutchfield


Jawbreaker Take No Prisoners at Brooklyn Steel on Tuesday Night

February 28th, 2018

Jawbreaker – Brooklyn Steel – February 27, 2018

Photos courtesy of Greg Pallante | gregpallante.com

Out of all of the beloved disbanded cult groups of the ’90s, Jawbreaker seemed like the last ones holding out on a reunion. But that all changed last summer, as the influential Bay Area punks reunited to headline Chicago’s annual Riot Fest to thousands of fans, many of them not even alive during the band’s initial tenure. In their absence, Jawbreaker’s legacy as one of punk’s most sacred best-kept secrets has grown into monolithic proportions. If you bring up their names in conversation, chances are the person you’re talking to has either never heard of them or they are that person’s favorite band. A friend of mine once drunkenly declared that Jawbreaker’s chief songwriter, Blake Schwarzenbach, was his Dylan.

Prior to Riot Fest, Schwarzenbach hinted that there was a 90-percent chance the band would be playing NYC after the festival. And so tickets went insanely fast once this three-night run at Brooklyn Steel was announced, as fans from all over hoped to flock to see the Jawbreaker reunion no one ever thought would happen. Tuesday was their second night in Kings County, supported by local comedian Clare O’Kane and a “surprise guest,” which turned out to be Waxahatchee, a perfect fit, as singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield has always had the same kind of world-weary emotional detail to her lyrics as Schwarzenbach does. Along with a four-piece band, including her sister Allison on guitar and keyboards, they played a short set running through most of last year’s great Out in the Storm.

A giant Jawbreaker banner was raised, and eager fans could finally rest assured that this was all really happening, as Schwarzenbach, bassist Chris Bauermeister and drummer Adam Pfahler walked onstage. The sold-out crowd, bathed in the house lights, exploded as Schwarzenbach strummed the opening riff to the classic single “Boxcar,” and from then on, the band took no prisoners. The set was mainly comprised of songs from their two best-loved albums, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy and their one dance with major-label success, Dear You. Jawbreaker sounded fantastic as they ripped through songs like “Save Your Generation,” “Jinx Removing” and “Sluttering (May 4th),” like they were long-lost anthems from a parallel world where there was a healthy sense of justice. Schwarzenbach joked throughout that they were filming the show as a “Netflix comedy special,” and with how funny some of his banter was, it didn’t seem too unrealistic.

Jawbreaker closed the main set with a blistering version of “Condition Oakland” and returned to play a couple more. They opened their encore with one of their earliest songs, “Want,” which had the entire crowd singing it’s “Ay-yay-yay-yay I want you” chorus in complete unison. The band then closed out the performance with their brilliant ode to drunken, unrequited love, “Kiss the Bottle,” with Clare O’Kane resurfacing from backstage to crowd-surf on top of the passionate audience. When it was all over, fans poured out onto the streets still amazed by what they had just seen. —Pat King | @MrPatKing


Waxahatchee Delight Music Hall of Williamsburg with New Music

April 10th, 2015

Waxahatchee – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 9, 2015

“We’re almost ready,” said Katie Crutchfield, the real person behind Waxahatchee, having taken the stage at Music Hall of Williamsburg last night in support of her new album, Ivy Tripp, her first on Merge Records. Crutchfield opened with “Breathless,” a methodical low-end keyboard progression featuring inscrutable lyrics like “Take what you want/ I’m not trying to be yours/ I’m not trying to have it all.” But even these limited ambitions wilted in the face of Waxahatchee’s very excellent new LP, named after an invented term that Crutchfield says stands for something like indecision, and a sold-out crowd waiting on whatever it was that the 26-year old singer would do. She may well live in half ways, the almost-ready, not-trying-to-have-it-all ideas that color her songs, but on this night, like so much of her recent career, Crutchfield enjoyed complete control and an audience willing to join her in whatever gray spaces she found between things.

Opening her set with “Under a Rock,” the Liz Phair–indebted second track from Ivy Tripp, and “Misery Over Dispute,” from her second LP, Cerulean Salt, Crutchfield transmuted Music Hall back to the mid-’90s. Fans with thick-rimmed glasses and sawed-off bangs nodded along. The set swelled behind “Lips and Limbs,” “Waiting” and “Lively,” all Cerulean Salt songs. Allison Crutchfield, Katie’s sister and bandmate, assisted on guitar and harmonies. The siblings leaned into each other invisibly on “Poison,” “Brother Bryan” and “Blue.” The latter two featured both sisters without an instrument, hands stridently at their sides, fists almost imperceptibly clenching and unclenching. The main set finished with Ivy Tripp’s closer, “Bonfire”—Katie Crutchfield has a thing for endings.

In the encore, she returned with her guitar but without the rest of the band. Someone in the audience yelled, “I love you,” and Crutchfield dryly responded, “You don’t know me.” And yet, in a limited sort of way, the crowd did know her. Her last three songs, “Grass Stain,” “Summer of Love” and “Noccalula” found the singer unadorned, alone, her best and barest self. The lyrics for that final number, the last song off Crutchfield’s first solo LP, American Weekend, rang out: “I’m going to New York/ I’ll be much better there.” When she wrote that, she couldn’t have known there would be hundreds of silent fans, some mouthing this very line, in the confines of the five boroughs. She wasn’t better last night at Music Hall than she would be elsewhere on the Ivy Tripp tour. But she was great in New York, as she said would be. She was ready, and for an hour, she had it all. —Geoff Nelson | @32Feet