Why one isolated incident overshadowed a night in Chicago
Andy Morris

15:20 15th May 2015

More about:

No performer should ever have to write what Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield tweeted about after a recent gig.

Following a show at the Empty Bottle in Chicago, Crutchfield tweeted "Let me just say: do not yell creepy, objectifying shit at me (anyone) on stage (ever) because I will embarrass you." Following her recent Pitchfork interview in which she described how a fan tried to kiss her on stage, clearly audience members need some education on how to behave. As such Gigwise got in touch with writer John M. Tryneski, who was at the show, to describe what went down at the Empty Bottle.

"The Waxahatchee set itself went very well other than the one incident. The crowd was into the music and very respectful and the five-piece band sounded great, tearing through songs from Ivy Tripp and Cerulean Salt. Then, about two-thirds of the way through the performance, Katie faced faced away from the audience in preparation for a song.

The room was mostly quiet in anticipation of the start of the song when someone about 15 feet away from the stage (it's a pretty intimate venue) shouted out something like "He-eey, I'll give you a back rub!" The room was quiet for a few seconds as it seemed like every was kind of looking around at each other as if to say "Seriously?" Then a few people reacted. I personally started booing the guy.

Crutchfield quickly turned around and stepped to the mic and asked "Who said that?" When a guy with a beer in his hand and a shit-eating grin on his faced raised his hand, she said "Oh, that was very bold" (or something similar). "Come up to the stage."

When he got to the stage she leaned down and said something off-mic to him that was clearly a rebuke. The man looked confused, took a step back and the band launched into the next song. Throughout the song the guy stood a few feet from stage with the same dopey grin on his face that seemed to show that he was mostly getting off on the attention. After a minute or two someone from The Empty Bottle came up and asked him to leave. This took a few tries as the music was loud and the guy seemed reluctant and/or confused. Eventually both Katie and the guitarist onstage made a shooing motion with their hands and the cat-caller and he was lead away to a loud cheer from the rest of the audience.

The rest of the show went well, including a solo encore by Katie where she thanked the audience for being so supportive. The encore was a delicate, finger-strummed version of "Summer Of Love" during which you could have heard a pin drop despite the capacity crowd.

As someone who frequents both the Empty Bottle, I can say this kind of incident is far from the norm at the venue, which has a good reputation both for bookings and fans but it's also not unheard-of, especially given it's cheap ticket prices and drink specials that sometimes attracts people more interesting in drinking at a show than the band playing.

What was nice to see was the audience (which I'd peg at about 50-50 men-to-women) having such a strong negative reaction to the cat-calling. Maybe it's wishful thinking but I'd hope that it showed that at least some segments of the music community are increasingly willing to call out sexist heckling rather than encourage or ignore it."

For those of us who don't heckle, Waxahatchee is is returning to the UK for shows from Glasgow to London. Full tour dates are below. For tickets and information, click here. 

10 June London Electric Ballroom
11 June Bristol The Fleece
12 June Manchester The Ruby Lounge
13 June Dublin Button Factory
14 June Belfast McHughs
15 June Glasgow Stereo
16 June Newcastle The Cluny
17 June Leeds The Brudenell Social Club
18 June Sheffield The Harley
19 June Southhampton Joiners
20 June Brighton Bleach

More about: