As I ascended the stairs the blasts from the guitars of Biblical settled upon my ears. …
Will Weisenfeld, better known as Baths, revisited Portland over the weekend, this time playing inside an old warehouse in the industrial district of Southwest portland. Up a tall red-lit staircase you will find Rotture (Ro-Tur-ay), a brick-lined bar with a balcony overlooking the city. Huge fans give a breeze in a space that can get packed quickly.
On this night the crowd was comfortable and chattering, enjoying the opening acts of P. Morris, and the intense tribal soul of Young Fathers. Tables had sprawling wires and soundboards, all of which Weisenfeld and his musi-tech accomplice Morgan Greenwood set up quickly, although there was a purse of the lips at the sight of a half a drink spilled on stage over the hook-ups.
As with many electronic artists, there can be some glitches: “our computer is fucking with us”, but Baths handled it with grace. His presentation is casual, and the music is gorgeous. There is something inherently close to nature in all of the knob turning and synth dropping, found sounds such as the falling rain on first song “Mirasma Sky” abound in recordings. Greenwood handles effects while shouldering a guitar, and he watches wide-eyed for Weisenfeld’s next move. There is plenty of improvisation during the live show, especially with the use of piano; such as the popular melody of “Lovely Bloodflow”. The beauty of the keys meshing with rhythmic drum snaps and a sassy, warm voice had the crowd dancing, enamoured in the sensuality of it all.
There is deep emotion in Weisenfeld’s poetry, some of it (much of it) dark and stormy. He unleashed it in unexpected, intense screaming and operatic high notes in the Lyrics of “Plea” and “Ocean Death”, the latest single and EP recently released on Anticon. Over classical soundscapes it falls together and is still smooth. Whatever themes of mortality and sexual tension he is confronting, he is unapologetically (if not somewhat romantically) voyeuristic, ending the set with “No Eyes”, an encore in itself.
Check out a video of “Plea” here: Baths – Plea
Words and Photos by Brandy Crowe