Concert Review: Braids and Baths at El Mocambo, Toronto, February 19

baths will wiesenfeld
The following was originally published on Exclaim.ca.

It can’t feel good to have feedback problems during the first song of a sold-out show. But while some bands let their anger through, Braids were able to carry the band into smoother territory.

Their fuzzy electronic mixtures that often come with references to Animal Collective felt closer to the Dirty Projectors and tUnE-yArDs, with back-and-forth harmonies and bombastic percussion. They focused on tracks from their debut, this year’s Native Speaker, and ended on a new one, proving they could make what’s soft on record into something loud and crunchy live. The end effect was dreamy, raunchy, personal and with just enough rock in between the electronic manoeuvring.

But while Braids flourished, Baths was only so-so. The one-man band of Will Wiesenfeld was energetic, focused and cheeky, but his songs felt disjointed, as they were dominated by noises similar to machine gears. The beat-loving Wiesenfeld seemed to have a big DJ influence, and that’s what the crowd appeared to want: a dance party. However, it’s hard to dance to songs that stop and start every five seconds with strange vocals on top. Nevertheless, it didn’t deter most people from trying.

Baths and Wiesenfeld’s other endeavours, Geotic and Post-Foetus, are fun to react to in your own capacity, but live it felt rough. That said, Wiesenfeld did make an effort to interact with his fans, telling them to “get gay” and introducing a track with “this song is about going to hell” while giving two thumbs-up.

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