“There’s too much space between us and you guys so it would bring us closer together if you could sing along to any of our songs”, says Baroness singer John Baizley of the gulf in space between audience and band at Southampton’s Engine Rooms.
The last time Baroness were due to play the Engine Rooms four years ago, tragedy struck as their bus fell 30 feet from a bridge. This caused emotional and physical turmoil, and some line up changes, however tonight they carried a determined and professional attitude to put on an epic performance.
Baroness have gained a cult following in the metal scene. They released their critically acclaimed fourth album Purple in December, and are using their current tour as a taster to showcase the new tracks in a live setting.
Opening with ‘Morningstar’, Baroness have riffs and vocals bordering on the heavier side of Mastodon. The dual chugging guitars from Baizley and Peter Adams compliment each other nicely, while Nick Jost’s bass brings out a fuller sound.
‘Board up the House’, off 2012’s double album Yellow and Green is a slower, groove-laden track with a huge chorus, the skilled drumming indicates a band that know how to work a live performance. Baizley is clearly getting into the track, as he grins and acknowledges the audience.
Baizley’s vocals pack a punch as he can go from shouting to soaring, beautiful harmonies. ‘Chlorine and Wine’ takes a progressive rock influence, but it gets the crowd going, as they are constantly head banging.
‘If I Had to Wake Up (Would You Stop the Rain?)’ encourages a massive sing-along during the chorus. It brings out their ambient side, showing off their diversity.
A personal highlight was the final song, ‘Eula’. It featured a stunning vocal performance from Baizley and some beautiful lead guitar work, the solo sent shivers down my spine.
Baroness’ live show is a concoction of assaulting power chords and tight musicianship. On the strength of this show, they can pull it off on bigger stages in the future.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos