» Blog Archive Baroness' Triumphant Return To NYC -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews, Tours

DSC05563 (2)In going to and reviewing shows, I generally give a positive response to the grand majority of the bands I see. Perhaps it’s the musician in me, but I can see the level of production and how much time they’ve spent in preparing to go out on the road and perform, and I take that into account. Very rarely do I find bands I don’t enjoy in a live setting, but even more rarely do I actually feel something when I see a band. What it ultimately comes down to is whether the show is entertaining or not, but when a band can make me happy just by playing their music? That’s when you have something extraordinary.

Baroness have been no strangers to critical acclaim over their career. From Red Album being dubbed “Album of the Year” by Revolver back in 2007 to the widespread acclaim of last year’s Purple, Baroness have carved a legacy over four albums that shake the metal community with each release. Knowing this impact they’ve made, it seems like a perfect match in having Pallbearer open for them: both bands have been critically acclaimed the past few years, and both employ a natural, raw sound to accompany their individual styles. Going into this show, it was obvious it was going to be enjoyable, but that proved to be a massive understatement.

DSC05484 (2)Being a two-band bill, Pallbearer took to the stage early much to the crowd’s praise. A quick introduction, and guitarist/vocalist Brett Campbell led the band in opening “World’s Apart.” Compacting five songs into their forty-five minute set, Pallbearer wasted little time between songs, with the exception of  a necessary introduction and announcement that they had recently completed the recording of their third album. While not announcing any specifics, much less a song name, the band treated the crowd to the new song, which seemed to follow in the styles set with their previous releases. Pallbearer is hardly a broken band, and the new song and album was easily welcomed by the crowd overall.

DSC05404 (2)Perhaps most interestingly, as their set went on, was how dynamic the band was with their playing. From the doom metal bands I’ve seen, most tend to stand there and let the music affect the crowd, but Pallbearer were actually entertaining to watch. In particular bassist Joseph Rowland, their set would see their members move around and pose with the music. Rowland specifically was able to move around and mingle with his other band mates, adding an extra layer to their set to contribute to it being an all-around entertaining experience to watch and hear.

DSC05539 (2)My favorite aspect of the night was that it was only Pallbearer and Baroness. With Pallbearer wrapping up their set, Baroness took to the stage after a break between sets, but to the crowd it must have felt like an eternity. As the band took to the stage, the atmosphere in the venue changed sporadically. Purple lights to accompany the album and the opening moments to “Kerosene” sent the venue spiraling into a burst of emotion, one of which I had never seen before at a show, and carried it through the night. Around “March to the Sea” and “Morningstar,” both rounding out the three opening songs for the band, I saw and heard and entire crowd sing every word with frontman John Baizley, match every pitch, and feed off the energy Baroness were putting forth.

DSC05590 (2)By the time in the middle of their set, when “If I Have to Wake Up (Would You Stop the Rain)” came in the set, Baroness were subtly hinting at playing every song off of Purple in this set. While the set consisted of the entire album out of order, (Not something to complain about, mind you) the band was able to include plenty from Yellow & Green, and even managed to include older songs from their first two releases, such as “Isak” and “The Gnashing.” The emphasis, however, was on their most recent work, and by the level of happiness pouring from the crowd, that was a smart decision for the show.

What made this show so special, however, was that the happiness coming from the crowd was genuine happiness from the music. At shows, generally because metal is so energetic and intense all the time, enjoyment is generally felt through adrenaline, unless it’s generally your favorite band you’re seeing. Understandably so, Baroness was clearly near and dear to everyone’s heart in Webster Hall’s Grand Ballroom, and the band knew it, too. Several times during the show, both Baizley and guitarist Peter Adams stopped to thank the fans, saying that their happiness made them play better and kept them going as a band.

DSC05546 (2)The band themselves played amazingly, as well. The raw sound from the albums was reproduced without failure on the stage, and at many points during the show did one of the band members manage to impress and have their time to shine. In particular, Peter Adams managed to do backing vocals while doing the lead part of “March to the Sea.” Much credit to him, as it looks and sounds like a difficult part to perform, never mind doing vocals alongside it. Much to my enjoyment, it was during “The Gnashing” that the band, sonically, was at their peak, driving energy forward and firing all cylinders as they prepared for their encore.

As their set winded down with “Take My Bones Away,” Baroness left the New York venue with a lasting impact that night. When the band themselves remark on how amazing of a night they were having, it becomes clear which bands are going to be around in the coming years. With bands breaking up every day, Baroness are only growing as an act and are proving to be one we’ll be seeing again in ten years on a more successful, legendary level. Baroness don’t receive critical acclaim for just beautiful album artwork; they deliver in every aspect that a band can and so much more. Don’t miss the opportunity to see them while on tour, as it’s a one of a kind experience.

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