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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Baroness -- Lawrence, KS -- June 4th, 2013

In the past year, Baroness have gone through things that would rip most bands apart. They released the double album Yellow & Green last summer that was initially met with divisiveness. Shortly after, the band was involved in a horrendous bus accident - similar in destruction to the fatal crashes involving Metallica and Decapitated that killed key members of those groups. Fortunately for Baroness there were no fatalities in the bus crash, but it left the members hospitalized and the fate of the band unknown. Well, it'll take more than a bus crash to keep the mammoth-sized beast that is Baroness down for long. Frontman John Baizley, along with guitarist Peter Adams and replacements Nick Jost and Sebastian Thomson brought every ounce of their rehabilitated selves to a sizeable crowd at the Granada theater on a humid Tuesday night.

Although Baroness is near the top of "sludge" metal bands signed to Relapse Records from Savannah, Georgia, their sound is much more rooted in the riff and melody of heavy metal than the dissonance and power chords of their friends in Kylesa and Black Tusk. Baizley uses his distinct melodic vocals in time with driving riffs to create a unique take on this dirty type of heavy metal. Some songs, such as "March To The Sea" and "A Horse Called Golgotha" do not shy away from the high notes on the guitars - a rarity in sludge metal these days. These riffs and strong bass presence mixed with impressive drum fills make for a very danceable, or headbanging, live show. With each song played, the stage lights were changed to the appropriate color from which album the track originated from. Mostly yellow and green lights, though there was a healthy dose of blue lighting and an appearance of red lighting for "Isak" near the end of the set, which sent the crowd into a frenzy.

John Baizley and Peter Adams might just be this generations dual-guitar attack duo in the vein of a stoner version of Judas Priest's KK Downing and Glenn Tipton. The sound throughout most of the night was a bit too loud, rendering Baizley's guitar and the bass sound heads and shoulders above all else, but it evened itself out at times. And speaking of too loud, this might have been the loudest show to ever hit the Granada. "Board Up The House" reached excruciatingly painful levels of volume and made some in the crowd rethink about being up too close for the band. Despite that small gripe, Baroness played an outstanding set and the crowd was extremely receptive. There was a lot of singing along to nearly every single song which put a big smile on Baizley's face. If tonight is any indication, Baroness' music transcends the heavy metal spectrum and is common ground for countless different music tastes and personalities. If Baroness is indeed taken from us much too soon, at least their music will inspire and bring happiness for a much longer time.

The only opener of the night was Coliseum, also from the south. While the sludge is apparent in their sound, Coliseum is very much rooted in the hardcore punk scene. Like a grittier, faster, looser version of Kyuss, Coliseum thrashed through a 45-minute set unleashing songs like the infectious "Black Magic Punks" and the grooving "Blind In One Eye." Guitarist/vocalist Ryan Patterson gave a quick speech on how their first ever show was opening for Baroness in 2004 and have basically been touring with them for almost a decade now. It just made their energetic set that much more endearing and special for the moment.


Ogeechee Hymnal
Take My Bones Away
March to the Sea
A Horse Called Golgotha
Little Things
Green Theme
Swollen and Halo
Board Up the House
Sea Lungs
The Sweetest Curse
The Gnashing
The Line Between
Jake Leg

Baroness: 9.5/10
Coliseum: 8.5/10