COMMONWEALTH BAR & STAGE, MAY 14, 2014
Commonwealth was already packed when I arrived at the venue shortly before futuristic beat-maker P. Morris and Scottish/Liberian/Nigerian outsider rap act Young Fathers were to perform. Due to complications at the door, I unfortunately didn’t make it in until the acts had finished. It was hard not to notice that the crowd was in a positively hedonist state. The night’s headliner, Baths, was soon to take the stage to perform his introspective pop built on layered beats and skewed samples and the room was expecting a party.
Will Wiesenfeld greeted the crowd and gushingly introduced his new bandmate and collaborator, Morgan Greenwood. The slurry audience was either very receptive due to Greenwood’s proven chops from his time in Calgary as a member of the beloved Azeda Booth, or simply because most everyone was about one drink away from puking on the floor. Whatever the reason, the excitement in the room was palpable and response to the act was electric across the board from the first note.
Until recently, Baths was basically a guy onstage with a laptop, limited by the complexity of his beat compositions. Today, Wiesenfeld is a full-blown frontman. Greenwood did most of the musical heavy lifting by deftly swapping between guitar and gadgets, creating waves of muted bass and hand-stitched samples that accentuated Wiesenfeld’s alien-like falsetto.
While Wiesenfeld engaged a good portion of the room with his dramatic emoting, many became preoccupied with not falling over and chatting loudly to friends through the ballads. The mood in the room was just plain weird and it was as apparent to me as it was to the act onstage. After several bizarre catcalls, Wiesenfeld endearingly addressed the room and went back to running seamlessly through the best-loved songs of both Baths LPs.
The dynamic of Greenwood as the mad scientist supplying beatific creations from behind the boards and Wiesenfeld’s unhinged emotion in living out his songs made for one of the most engaging electronic sets on the touring circuit today. The act pleased both the club kids in the room and the adorably nerdy hardcore Baths fans soaking in every moment. Regardless of what they came to Commonwealth on a Wednesday night for, everyone walked (or stumbled) out the venue with a smile of satisfaction.
Photos and words by Colin Gallant