Baths at The Button Factory – Review

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bathsBaths played The Button Factory last Wednesday, 27th November.

It takes a certain amount of balls to open a show not with a song or a moody overture, but by asking, “Does anybody remember the name of the place we played last time?” But Will Wiesenfeld is the epitome of chill, and he makes it obvious from the beginning that we’re not watching some humorless egomaniac basking in the glory of his own art but, simply, a couple of guys playing some catchy tunes they love onstage.

The show is the last of Baths’ lengthy tour schedule this year in support of ‘Obsidian’, a record which, as the gig goes on, seems increasingly disparate from the cheerful, upbeat character Wiesenfeld projects onstage. The characteristic Baths sounds of tracks like “No Past Lives” and “Miasma Sky” contrast with the darker lyrical content, most notably with the screams Wiesenfeld looses now and then, and in a live setting, the songs receive dutiful changes and improvisation to great effect.

Although the crowd isn’t overflowing, those who came are immediately sucked in to the glitchy beats and falsetto layers of Baths. Wiesenfeld, joined onstage by Morgan Greenwood (of Azeda Booth) and dressed in a tank top and shorts, at times sits at a keyboard, at times stands leaning on the mic and at times flops around the stage like a 50-year-old, bent-at-the-back headbanging at an Iron Maiden gig. His enthusiasm for the music is delightful, and the whole experience is complemented by an incredible lights show, beautifully crafted in synchrony with the music.

The set is light on tracks from Baths’ immense debut album ‘Cerulean’. After hearing yelled requests for one of the most well-known tracks from it, ‘Aminals’, one too many times, Will flatly states he won’t be playing it saying “I hate that song now”. “I’m kidding!” he quickly backtracks, but his disinterest in performing certain material from this album is well-documented, and he focuses on his new darker, denser record, ‘Obsidian’. Nonetheless, he pays homage with a few well-received tracks, including ‘Plea’ and the gorgeous ‘Lovely Bloodflow’ which gets the biggest cheer of the night.

To those of us reared on a diet of rock music, the knob-turning, button-pressing world of live electronic music can seem a bit esoteric, but with Baths, the talent and passion is plain to see, this is no more evident than during the remarkable ten-minute improv of the encore, ‘No Eyes’, which righteously gathers intense adulation from the satiated audience as Baths leave the stage.

Review by Conor Cosgrave

 

Lucy Ivan

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