It seems that the City of Chicago has a Bat Signal of sorts to request the presence of Katie Crutchfield whenever the weather is chilly and we are in need of good music that comforts the soul.
When she last stopped by in February, Waxahatchee got everyone in the spring spirit with a pair of sold-out shows at Thalia Hall. This time around – with the first snowfalls of the season still lingering in the atmosphere – Crutchfield along with her friend and collaborator Jess Williamson brought their new project Plains to The Vic Theatre on Nov. 17 for a delightful night of warm music celebrating the duo’s country roots.
“It’s lovely to be here. We are Plains. My friend Jess Williamson and I put out an album a few weeks ago and we’re winding down on a long tour. This is one of the last shows. We’re real happy it’s in Chicago. It’s a great way to go out,” said Crutchfield leading in to “Line of Sight” off the group’s debut album, I Walked with You a Ways.
Along with sharing tunes from their recent release including “Summer Sun,” “Problem with It,” and “Bellafatima” – for which Williamson expressed gratitude to the song’s writer Hoyt Van Tanner – Crutchfield and Williamson incorporated songs from both of their individual projects into the show as well. Williamson’s “Wind on Tin” and Waxahatchee’s “Can’t Do Much” perfectly complimented each other when they appeared side by side on the setlist.
Throughout the night Plains’ vocal harmonies stood out as the tones of Williamson and Crutchfield absolutely enhanced one another at every turn. The musicianship of the entire band was flawless and there was a contagious, fun vibe that encouraged fans to interact with each song.
One stand-out moment came when Plains’ shared their take on Waylon Jennings’ “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” which Crutchfield referred to as “a country song and a cover song.” Fans added hoots and hollers as if they were watching the Blues Brothers play “Stand by Your Man” at Bob’s Country Bunker, but, instead of beer bottles, it was love that flew through the air. Cheers also rose above the music during “Abilene” as everyone joined together to sing the line, “Texas in my rearview, plains in my heart.”
Earlier in the night, MJ Lenderman and his band kicked off the show and ushered in the holiday season by sharing the new song “Rudolf.” He let fans know that Plains “bring it” every night. Later, Crutchfield echoed his appreciation by dedicating the Waxahatchee track “Lilacs” to her tour-mates.
“[MJ Lenderman and the Wind] are basically my all-time favorite band. We only have a few shows left with them and we’re real sad about it so we’re gonna send this next song out to them.” she said.
“Hurricane” and a playful rendition of The Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl” were also fun moments for fans and the band alike.
Plains will be wrapping up this tour on Nov. 19 in Kansas City. Check out photos from the Chicago show below and keep up with news, music, and more at Plainsband.com.
(Photos by Laurie Fanelli)