Perhaps you could call last Wednesday night at Great Scott “Ladies Night.” With a line-up of four female-fronted bands, Waxahatchee, Potty Mouth, All Dogs, and Cayetana, this sold-out show nevertheless proved to be popular amongst all genders who attended.
Many in the crowd showed up to see Northampton’s Potty Mouth perform, a band we’ve Sound of Boston covered before. The women rockers performed their energetic punk music with even more fervor and volume than their recorded tracks provide. Lead singer Abby Weems sang loudly into a mic with levels that were slightly off but to no notice to the audience, who displayed their enjoyment with head-bobbing. “This is a dream line-up tonight,” Weems comments during one break between songs, “we’re happy to be here.”
A highlight from Potty Mouth’s set was “The Better End”, performed near the end of their set. Lead guitarist Phoebe Harris took over on vocals for the first half of the song and tested the mic beforehand, saying, “I just want to make sure this mic is working ’cause I’m gonna use it now!” Her section of the song was more shouting than singing, but she did it with more spunk and confidence than could ever be heard in the recorded version of this track.
Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield kicked off her set alone on stage – just a woman and her electric guitar. The first four tracks are melancholy tunes that Crutchfield sang flawlessly, accompanied by the smooth plucking of her clean-sounding electric guitar. Her voice seemed to echo to the back of the room, silencing the whole audience as they become enraptured by her sad lyrics and haunting vocals. She played these first four songs back to back with seamless transitions and no introduction whatsoever, letting the songs speak for themselves.
Finally, after the fourth slow song, Crutchfield invites the rest of her band onstage to play the remainder of her set. “We’re going to take you on an emotional roller coaster,” she told the audience, as if the first portion of her performance wasn’t enough of one already. Waxahatchee’s full band started out playing a new song and Crutchfield was right about the emotional roller coaster; the full band’s sound was even more overwhelming than just Crutchfield and her guitar. In some songs, the drums banged deeply and the bass boomed loudly, all perfectly complementing Crutchfield’s singing and playing. After about four of five songs more, the less enraptured fans in the back by the bar began to get a little chatty and the crowd in general relaxed a bit more. Unlike many performances where musicians like to alternate slower songs with high energy songs, Waxahatchee made the right decision in playing the sadder, quieter songs first before building up to a loud and powerful second half.
But the “dream line-up” was not complete without performances from the two bands on tour with Waxahatchee: Cayetana and All Dogs. Cayetana’s Augusta Koch, Allegra Anka, and Kelly Olsen performed as if they’ve been playing together for more than just the three years they’ve been a band. Although the only music they’ve released is two very short punk music EPs, Cayetana definitely played more than just five songs, which warned the audience that new music is yet to come. Lead singer Koch’s voice was slightly raspy and very intriguing to listen to, while also providing a nice contrast to the more melodic voices of the lead singers of the other three bands.
All Dogs is the only co-ed opener in the line-up, but in keeping with the Ladies Night theme, the lead singer Maryn Jones is in fact a female. She steals the spotlight with her squeaky child-like voice and Grimes-esque haircut. Jones seemed timid on stage, but in a cute way, especially when she introduced one of her songs saying, “This song is about having a best friend.” With that, Jones belted out high notes, shedding her seemingly shy nature. The band played as a cohesive unit, which was observed through the sudden tempo changes from slow to upbeat in mid-song. In fact, the majority of All Dogs’ songs are like that: the intro and first verse are quiet and gentle and suddenly, you’re thrust into the chorus, which is loud with fuzzy guitar and drums. Of course, we were at a punk show, and All Dogs was going to be sure to remind you of the fact.
Because this was Great Scott, nothing much was expected from the lighting. This show wasn’t any different: one set-up consisting of a few purple, blue, and red gels were used for all four bands. While nothing special, it got the job done. There was a great turn-out for the audience, which makes a show all the more enjoyable, but the long and skinny room that is Great Scott doesn’t seem best suited for sold-out crowds. However, the sold-out crowd created an atmosphere at Great Scott that resulted in a night buzzing with excitement.