“A girl’s bedroom can sometimes be this space of real creativity. The problem is that these bedrooms are all cut off from each other.”
I immediately thought of this Kathleen Hanna line from “The Punk Singer” when I saw Briana Marela, Girlpool and Waxahatchee play the Doug Fir on May 1st. It felt like each act was letting the audience into their bedroom for the night, giving us a chance to witness their creativity.
Briana Marela, a self-proclaimed “sound conjurer” based in Seattle, Washington, opened with a series of songs that she masterfully mixed live, looping and processing her voice to create blissed out, magically bold melodies reminiscent of Sigur Ros and early Bjork. Her honest “Speak From Your Heart” left me feeling vulnerable and raw—the same sensation of catharsis you experience after a long and necessary cry.
A similar rawness emanated from Girlpool as they took the stage. At 18 and 19, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad absolutely commanded the 21+ crowd with an awkward yet unapologetic grace that only teenage girls possess. Highlights from their set include “Plants and Worms,” a bass-heavy and poetic standout track from their debut EP, and “Before the World Was Big,” the catchy single off of their eponymously titled forthcoming album.
Having seen Waxahatchee perform a few times previously, I knew to expect Katie Crutchfield’s brutally beautiful delivery of songs like “Breathless” and “Noccalula,” which she opened and closed with. The current Waxahatchee band includes her sister Allison Crutchfield on guitar and backing vocals, which feels like a more grown up version of their earlier days playing in P.S. Eliot. With creative sister acts few and far between, it’s hard not to draw comparisons between the Crutchfields and The Breeder’s Kim and Kelley Deal. The smoky harmonies in “Blue” and “The Dirt” pick up right where Last Splash left off.
Before she started into her final song, the song that we would end the evening on, Katie thanked Girlpool and Briana Marela for playing with her tonight. “Briana, I had never heard your music before, but you truly moved me.” Not only had they let the audience into their bedrooms for the night, they let in each other, and we were lucky enough to bear witness.