Levitation Review: Waxahatchee, Hurray for Riff Raff, Bedouine

Killing triple stack of woman power

Waxahatchee, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and Bedouine played it straight Sunday night. No skuzzy guitar licks, shoegaze distortion, or muddied wall-of-sounds to be found at Mohawk. In its place, a sonically-diverse bill of artists each intensely moving in a singular way.

Bedouine (Photo by Jana Birchum)

As Bedouine, Azniv Korkejian’s twilight set held the full attention of the burgeoning audience, a rapt silence falling over the crowd from the opening guitar plucks of “You Kill Me.” Performing with only a guitar, the onetime Austinite proved tranquility and grace, even when the blaring house music accidentally switched on, shattering the spell.

Her meditative half-hour onstage brimmed with a forlorn longing, duskiness delivered through the poetic sparseness of Sixties folk and a velveteen, quavering voice. Aside from Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield and Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra joining for a sweet cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen,” Bedouine’s set felt solitary, a total show stealer that proved enchanting in its starkness.

Hurray for Riff Raff (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Hurray for the Riff Raff’s mid-slot took a wild detour in vibe. Leading a fivepiece, frontwoman Segarra burned with steeliness and warmth, leading the group through swaggering roots rock spiked with the political. An unreleased song inspired by Langston Hughes’ “Kids Who Die” particularly pulsed with the New Orleans-based singer’s intensity, her banter thrummed with calls of power to the youth, to people of color, to women – a picture of strength, pained and joyous all at once.

Waxahatchee (Photo by Jana Birchum)

As the headliner, Waxahatchee swung between its origins as Katie Crutchfield’s solo heartache and the electrified, deafening full band sheen of last year’s Out in the Storm. Behind her signature outcry, emotion slurring the words, the Philly crew’s performance skewed full, grungy rock, favoring newer work: the clamor of “Never Been Wrong,” rock-pop of “Silver,” and exasperation of “Under a Rock.”

Interspersing tracks from beloved Cerulean Salt – “Swan Dive”’s raspy loneliness, “Misery Over Dispute” – with thunderous, electrifying renditions, the singer stripped down “La Loose” and the encore, “Fade,” to desolation, only her acoustic guitar. The vessel may change, but Crutchfield never faltered in delivery of unflinching introspection and raw feeling.

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Levitation 2018, Waxahatchee, Katie Crutchfield, Hurray for Riff Raff, Alynda Segarra, Bedouine, Azniv Korkejian, Big Star, Langston Hughes

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