Returning to the United Kingdom for the first time since their ill-fated tour last summer when a tragic bus crash severely injured the band and their road crew, Savannah quartet Baroness are back with a new rhythm section ready to air songs from 2012’s magnum double album “Yellow And Green”. Before John Baizley and co grace the stage, it is time for labelmates Royal Thunder to warm up the audience with their pulsing tribal rhythms and the smouldering voice of Mlny Parsonz. Throbbing bass and an orgy of twisting psycadelic rhythms allow numbers like “No Good” and a rampant rendition of “Whispering World” transform a once quiet Tuesday night crowd into a torrent of enthusiastic cheers.
John Baizley’s call to “make our time together count” is a mantra embraced wholeheartedly by the devoted this evening. Much of the set is culled from their last opus and while the band hit the ground running with “Take My Bones Away” and “March To The Sea”, it would be nice to see a couple of the more mellow numbers replaced by earlier cuts for the sake of variety.
The absence of any “Red Album” era material is somewhat disappointing considering its gargantuan power but there are many anthemic choruses on numbers like “Swollen and Halo”, which incite hearty sing-a-longs from the adoring public.
Where the band chooses to steer themselves musically is anyone’s guess but one thing these songs have in common is that they are chock full of intestinal fortitude delivered by a dynamic act whose heartfelt sincerity shines through everything they do. A colossal rendition of “Eula” demonstrates emotive and majestic songwriting that is sure to transport them to greater success and maybe even mainstream recognition.
“Isak” brings the curtain down on a triumphant evening full of a sense of celebration and relief. Baroness are both alive and in rude health, having stared death in the face and spat defiantly in its eye.
By Ross Baker