Baths, Braids & Blackbird Blackbird @ Knitting Factory (pics)
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo, words by Rachel Kowal
Baths @ Knitting Factory
Star Slinger may have bowed out, but Saturday night's alliterative line-up still proved to be a delightful exercise in spacey electro-pop. The show began with Mikey Sanders' project, Blackbird Blackbird. Though he typically performs solo, Sanders had help from his friend Frank. Much like Baths, Blackbird Blackbird is heavily comprised of bass-heavy laptop samples that are skillfully manipulated by a series of knobs and faders and set to nice, clear vocals.
Sanders mentioned multiple times how "fucking stoked" he was to be playing over the course of his 20-minute set, and the audience responded to this enthusiasm by beginning to loosen up. Though the night was still young, it was clear that a dance party was brewing.
But before things got too frenzied, the dancers got a bit of a respite thanks to Braids' pleasantly dreamy set. After a long, meandering instrumental intro as the band and technicians ironed out some last-minute kinks, the lights suddenly changed and Braids exploded into the moody crowd pleaser "Lemonade."
Lead singer and guitarist Raphaelle Standell-Preston had a big smile on her face throughout the evening, despite her apparent illness. (She had thought ahead to bring a a steaming thermos and a Kleenex box on stage with her.) But even more notable than her upbeat disposition was her ability to hit every note - especially the high ones in "Lammicken." (At times, she looked a bit surprised when she nailed them, too.) When she finally confessed that she had "lost" her voice near the end of their set, she could barely talk. Luckily, the final song in the set called for some shrieking and audience participation.
When it was finally time for Baths, both Will Wiesenfeld and the sold-out crowd were ready to dance. "Ok. You guys want to hear music, I assume," Wiesenfeld began. "Let's do it!" As he began to play his first song, he turned to the sound technician a few seconds in. "Everything louder! Louder, louder, louder!"
It's easy to knock laptop musicians, but unlike some performers, Wiesenfeld is anything but dull. With his hands moving rapidly over dials and knobs, Wiesenfeld was a blur. He danced as much as physically possible, sending the key ring at his belt loop jingling wildly, which added yet another layer to the music.
"Oh my God. I love him already!" yelled a girl behind me during the first song. Everyone was gushing and in good spirits - it's hard not to be with lyrics like "It's a breezy, beautiful day." Meanwhile, Wiesenfeld was soaking up the love with a big grin on his face. "We're all friends here. I know all of you," he cried out at one point.
He was moving so much that he somehow managed to dislodge his glasses - twice. "I don't have any rock star things other than my glasses falling off, so that's peak. That's as bad ass as I get," he joked.
Following his action-packed set (which included a number of new songs), Wiesenfeld returned to uproarious applause for a one-song encore before admitting to the crowd and admitting, I don't have any more. I'm going to disappear."
The Saturday night show was over before midnight which is when Todd P took over for a late night party feating a set by John Maus.
Braids play again at Glasslands tonight (12/15), and then Baths and Braids continue their tour together at a sold out Mercury Lounge on Wednesday. More pictures from Knitting Factory below...