Live: Baths and Braids Fight Through Their Debilitating Illnesses At The Knitting Factory


Baths/Braids/Blackbird Blackbird
The Knitting Factory
Saturday, February 12

Better than: Staying in sick with Cerulean and Native Speaker as the soundtrack.

“I just fucked up really badly.” Thus spoke Will Wiesenfield, a/k/a Baths, acknowledging a momentary blip during his set of solo electronic music Saturday night at the Knitting Factory, filled with a variety of “unique” dance moves and lots of crowd interaction. The thing that’s so curiously fascinating about Baths is his aw-shucks onstage charm, as if he’s just playing for a few of his close friends, and trying not to infect them: He also made sure to point out that nearly everyone involved with this tour was under the weather. “We’re all sick, all six of us,” he said, suppressing a cough. “Especially Raph [from Braids] — she’s just a trooper right now.”

Wiesenfield kept complete control of the stage, despite being all by his lonesome. Part of that has to do with his sheer abundance of energy — constantly moving to the beat and quick to bust out a Lady Gaga-esque Ra Ra dance, he was clearly thoroughly enjoying himself. As his set wound down with a slow song, he joked around with the crowd about the traditional “slow dance” cliché: “This next one is a slow one, so hold your girlfriends, hold your boyfriends, suck their dick . . . that was inappropriate, sorry.” It’s this type of banter and charisma that makes Baths shine as a live act, despite the minimal brand of music he plays.

Braids warmed the crowd up, blazing through a quick set of their distinct brand of dream pop. Vocalist Raphaelle Standell-Preston was particularly impressive in hitting all her high notes (and how), considering that her voice sounded completely shot when she attempted to speak to the crowd. Kicking off with burgeoning fan favorite “Lemonade,” the quality of the set was stellar throughout: The young Canadians are alluring in their delivery, calm yet still somehow excited. Especially appealing is keyboardist Katie Lee, who stands and screams out all the lyrics with a controlled yell that sounds all sorts of great.

Blackbird Blackbird, an electronic duo from San Francisco, went on first — their “hipster dubstep,” as someone in the crowd put it, was a nice start to the night, including the song that sampled a bicycle. It may not be “Bicycle Race,” but it’ll do.

Overall, the show was an intimate electronic set delving into both the dance and rock sides of the equation. Despite their havoc-wreaking illnesses, everyone sounded focused and resilient. Now someone send them some Theraflu, because they’ve got another show in town Wednesday.

Critical Bias: I fall asleep to Native Speaker every day.

Overheard: “She makes video-game characters sexy. She’s a beast.”

Random Notebook Dump: Saw Braids at the bar after their set, where they were watching some random girl playing Super Mario on the TVs. No additional commentary needed.

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