Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Baths at CAMP Basement

In the fevered months following the release of Baths’ debut album, reviewers have ceaselessly trumpeted the fact that Will Wiesenfeld – the man behind the pseudonym - is young. Young, that is, for a musician who has been so astoundingly prolific. Although Wiesenfeld is still in his early twenties, he has already found a place for himself within the bustling electronic scene on the West Coast, shape-shifting his way through a spectrum of musical guises, and now embarking on his first ever tour this side of the Atlantic. 

Despite being a seasoned writer and performer, the truism sticks: Will Wiesenfeld is, indeed, surprisingly young. After seeing Baths perform live at CAMP this Monday, I was startled by his sheer, childlike exuberance. His on-stage presence emanates youth and excitement, vigorously engineering the playful touches he adds to his songs during performances, chatting amicably with the crowd during song-intervals, and dancing with genuine enthusiasm to the idiosyncratic rhythms of his music.
Baths’ set-list at CAMP was a lovingly compiled selection of up-beat tracks from Cerulean, complimented by two fresh compositions. The style of his performance was a testament to Wiesenfeld’s experience on the club circuit; the songs ran together seamlessly, and halfway through the performance of a new song he urged the sound engineer to turn up the volume, sending the packed crowd at the rundown CAMP basement into an attack of furiously off-beat dancing. But Baths’ music is not only meant for the dance-floor. Classically-trained Weisenfeld writes love songs; ones which are lyrically intricate and ones which speak to the marginalised. Before launching into the troubled melodies of “Plea”, he told the crowd that the song was “for any gay guys out there. Just to let you know it’s okay”. 

From the uplifting, choral tones of “Hall” to the hip-hop style “Lovely Bloodflow”, Wiesenfeld avoided some of the gentler songs in his repertoire which might have posed a challenge to the relentless energy of his set. Energy is his trademark, and, as the critics say, Wiesenfeld is young – but seeing his agile handling of the soundboard at CAMP this Monday, it is clear there are great things yet to come.

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