A small crowd hugged the stage last Thursday night at The Vogue. It wasn’t the average evening at this typically raucous and buzzing venue. Rather, there was a sort of low hum that ran through the crowd as they anticipated LA electronic musician, Baths, performance.
Young Fathers, the opener, took the stage before Baths. Signed to the same label as Baths, Anticon, this psychedelic hip-hop group offered harmonized vocals layered with synths and bass. Their rough noise set the pace for Baths’ sonic quest he was planning for the crowd.
Gurgling hot tea from a cardboard cup, Baths’ Will Wiesenfeld approached his keyboard and took a spot. His cohort, Morgan Greenwood, took his perch on the other side of the pile of electronics they would be pounding sound from for the next hour. Without hesitation, Will ripped straight into the melodic “Miasma Sky” off his sophomore effort Obsidian. Its peppy synth keys are hauntingly paired with macabre lyrics like, “Tall rock shelf, Are you maybe here to help me hurt myself?/”. This song set the precedent for a deep, dark, and well-executed evening.
With a floor shaking rendition of “Worsening” and some material off his newest EP Ocean Death, Baths had the industrial-electronic feel in full force. Fog machines shot a haze over the stage, as he broke into his highly praised single, “Ocean Death”. His falsetto vocals crooned over the dance-thump beat of the track, and an intermittent howl rang out over the crowd. Even the listeners who had been standing utterly still had to bob their heads a bit.
Because the focus of Baths was unquestionably geared towards the group’s latest material, it was a little sad to hear only a few tracks off his remarkable Cerulean. When the unmistakable pitter-patter percussion of “Lovely Bloodflow” shot through the speakers, the crowd broke into smiles. Its steady, snappy pulse washed over the crowd. A fan favorite, this song signifies a more ambient time early on in Baths’ career.
Throughout the show, Will would hop in between his keyboard/ microphone bench and his AKAI Pad. Everything on stage had its place, and was put to work at the exact moment. This exacting approach to everything from stage placement to his vocal loops is what makes Baths’ music so precise. Its in the calculation that his creative expertise takes place.
At the end of the evening, Will said “That’s all we have. Good Bye everyone”, and quietly walked off stage. It was refreshing to see such an eclectic, yet professional performer from such close range. Thursday night at The Vogue proved to be a fresh breath of musical air that the crowd appeared to respect and enjoy.