Baroness is John Baizley on lead vocals and guitar, Peter Adams on guitar and vocals, Allen Blickle on drums and Matt Maggioni on bass. They are touring in support of their newest offering, and I use that word quite specifically, a double disk titled "Yellow and Green" set to be released on July 17 through Relapse Records. Following on the heels of the "Red Album" and the "Blue Record," this new double disk will likely be presented to fans just as the show was last night: as an offering, as an experience. Get ready.
The crowd that traveled from far and near to see Baroness Thursday night at the Firebird was as you might expect them to be: a large mass of black clad, pale, stringy haired dudes with T-shirts advertising the other metal bands they listen to. And the vibe was also as you’d expect at a metal show: mosh pit, agro, lots of head banging. But there was something else: There was a lotta love in that room. It rose as high as the mountain of amps that framed the stage. It was as plentiful as the guitars and black T-shirts. It was as beautiful as the posters for sale at the merch table.
Somebody once told me that listening to music via MP3 or CD forms a tragedy for our ears. Sounds are distorted and rounded off, creating flat blended beige nothing. The opposite of that came out of the throbbing speakers at the Firebird. Intense is the best way to describe bassist Matt Maggioni. He looked like a thing possessed, rocking back and forth on stage as if at any moment the sheer force of sound would hurdle him into the crowd. Baizley practically flirted with all of us unabashedly, tempting us with his vocals and wide, wide eyes looking out to make sure we were all enjoying the music as much as he was. His deep, forceful voice was complimented perfectly by Adams. And Allen Blickle, well, this is how drums should always sound and it made me almost vow to only hear music live (or on the radio). Almost.
Drums do not sound like this when they come pre-packaged in downloadable form. There were moments when the guitars and bass would sort of step back and it sounded like the whole drum kit got pushed off a cliff and was hitting every rock on the way down. Boom, boom, boom, boom. And then, almost as if it were a rescue mission, the other guys would come back in and give us all they had.
From the "Blue Record" we got "A Horse Called Golgotha" and "Jake Leg." From the "Red Album" we got "Isak" and "The Birthing." Baroness closed with the last track on the "Red Album," "Grad," which probably got the best response from the already frenzied and delirious crowd. No encore, only a heartfelt thank you delivered to us humbly by Baizley. He proclaimed this the best show they've ever had in St. Louis and invited fans to come up and say hi after the show, told us not to be strangers.
Being a stranger after this show was impossible. There’s something really unexplainable about the connection made between music and audience at a live show, I've said it before and I'll say it again. But last night, what was even more powerful was the love between Baroness and the music. I really sincerely hope that these guys don’t wait two years to tour again because that’s just too long to wait for a show this good.
Correction: The review originally stated that "Rays on Pinion" was the final song of the set. The final song was "Grad."