Baroness at Ogden Theatre, 8/21/13
After the year Baroness had, it was obvious the quartet was happy to out playing again, and the crowd at the Bluebird last night was likewise amped to see the band. This was displayed none more powerfully and vividly than during the performance of "Swollen and Halo," which came halfway through the set. Running the gauntlet of the band's palette of tone, rhythms and dynamics, it felt like the perfect link between the band's older music and the more experimental feel of its newest material.
See also: Baroness battles back from catastrophe
Baroness at The Bluebird Theater
Kicking off a set that drew mostly from Yellow & Green, its latest release, the outfit got things going with an introductory passage that sounded like meditative space rock, like Daniel Lanois, only darker and more on the drone side of things. But once the song's introduction ended, Baroness got to the heavy yet fluid rock groove for which it is most well-known.
Maybe it was the contrast of the new material with the older songs, but some things came to light that are probably obvious but didn't seem as prevalent before -- the guitar melodies, for instance. Peter Adams and John Baizley harmonized with each other like you'd hear from Thin Lizzy or Iron Maiden. It fit in well with the powerful and driving rhythm section, bassist Nick Jost and new drummer Sebastian Thomson. And it's not just that these guys were tight, but they'd also leave enough room to go a little off the tracks, albeit in a controlled way that fits in with the song. It sounded relaxed while also being intense and bombastic.
Baroness at The Bluebird Theater
At times, Baroness also kind of seemed like a power pop band, one powered by heavy guitars and a propulsive low end. Baizley and Adams sang in atonal harmonies that might be out of place in a conventional pop song context, but they made it work here, whether they were actually singing or simply yelling the words in a musical way. There was an expansiveness to the energy of the band that was infectious. By the end of the show, it didn't seem like ninety minutes had passed. The music carried you along and transported you to another place, as only the best shows can.
Bluebird Theater - 8/21/13
01. Ogeechee Hymnal
02. Take My Bones Away
03. March to the Sea
04. A Horse Called Golgotha
06. Little Things
07. Green Theme
08. Swollen and Halo
09. Board Up the House
10. Sea Lungs
12. The Line Between
14. The Gnashing
15. The Sweetest Curse
16. Jake Leg
Personal Bias: I enjoy how Baroness fuses many parts into a coherent whole of heavy rock with good lyrics and imaginative soundscaping with great rocking riffs.
Random Detail: As always, excellent T-shirt designs courtesy John Baizley, including this cool sea-green rooster design, a teardrop raven design, the flying goat and another with what looked like a two-headed bird. All excellent.
By the Way: Before the end of the set, Peter Adams asked the audience to look after his or her neighbor -- the mark of a rocker and a gentleman.
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