Before I begin, I have to say that I like Baths’ music. When Cerulean came out of few years ago, I played it incessantly because I genuinely liked it. And when I found out that Baths would be coming to Vancouver, I was all over getting myself access to his show. I wanted to hear all this awesomeness live and on Saturday night, I got to do just that.
But, I didn’t love it.
To promote his latest release Obsidian, Baths played at the Electric Owl to a fairly full crowd. I will always decree that going to smaller venues is the way to go for a band that you like, even if you only like them a little bit. There’s an intimacy in these kinds of places that you just can’t get from a massive arena and when we arrived, Baths was sitting at the merch table and chatting with passersby. Pfft. Where else can you get that kind of interaction with an artist? I love that! Baths (or perhaps he asked people to call him Will) seemed really happy to oblige all those who stopped by the table to say “hey” and inquire about the merchandise. It all seemed very light and engaging, while the man he was sitting with blew fake smoke into the air from his electric cigarette. It truly could not have been more chill.
One of the things that I was pleasantly surprised by was the opener Houses. Despite their two albums, I’d never heard of these players before and I enjoyed every moment that they were up on stage. In fact, I spent much of their set chatting away in the back corner of the club only to look up at one point and exclaim, “Dammit! I really like these guys.” And I wasn’t the only one – the once-sparse crowd seemed to slowly fill in a little more with each song they played. In the end, their indie/electronic-induced music was enough to make me write down their name so that I could check out the rest of their new album A Quiet Darkness when I got home.
When Baths hit the stage at 11:30pm, I was pretty stoked. If the opener was that good, then the reason I was there was sure to blow me away. Unfortunately, Baths only played one (or two?) songs from Cerulean while everything else sounded like it might be from his new album and if the show was any indicator, it’s very experimental-ish. Or maybe my ears are broken. Or maybe it was the sound at the Electric Owl. All I know is that I wasn’t in love with it. For me, artists are like magicians who have the power to enthral with their music or their on-stage presence, but I didn’t get that this time and I was a bit disappointed by it.
To end on a nice note (because I’m the last person who would get up on stage to showcase my talent to the masses), I will say that Baths and his counterpart played well together and their enthusiasm was enough to get the rest of the crowd going – and those who were into it, seemed to be having the best time ever. Who can argue with that? Just before the encore, they joked about not being able to physically leave the stage but just stood off to the side. It was sweet and endearing and makes me think about what seems to be a very chill demeanour that I experienced at the merch table earlier in the night. I might not have loved the show, but I still had a good time and would def make the effort to support him again.