I hit Stereo around seven. Hooking up with 'El Destructo' from WTBR I purchase a pint of Birra Morreti and then feel my bowels shift a bit when the barman asks for four pounds fifty. Holy fuck I think. Last one in here. Upstairs is laid back. In amid the crowd I see a bearded gentleman drinking a coffee and reading a book. John Baizley doesn’t look out of place in this pub, restaurant, café... whatever it is. Plus, he looks to be enjoying some quiet time.
We avoid spending more money upstairs and head down. I'm excited to get a chance to watch Edinburgh’s excellently named “Lords of Bastard” play. On the way down I see John Baizley discussing the merch on the stand with fans, his brilliant artwork is everywhere, band t shirts, art prints and also available are black teez with his own personal art unrelated to Baroness (I only noticed this on the way out, wishing I had bought one). It's good merchandise. I pick up two Baroness tees. I'd rather give the band money than Birra Morreti!
Inside 'Lord of Bastard' have started. Moving down the front to get a better spot for watching them I enjoy their set, a mixture of really heavy, some spacey moments & fine sharp stops and starts to keep the interest up at all times. This is a good band. It's refreshing to see a guy playing a Rhodes keyboard in a metal band. Check out their latest video for “Eggs any style” that cuts up John Carpenters “Dark Star”. You would think JC actually made it for them. Certainly a band to watch, live and for the future!
If the previous band were a warm up, they certainly did warm us all up for “Baroness”. Inside this place it feels like an oven. I may have moaned recently about certain venues being far too small for hosting popular bands but this place seems the ideal venue for an underground band like “Baroness”, quite large (not too big), high roof and the sound is brilliant. Onstage the band look pumped, happy and excited. How fantastic it is to see that. Big smiles. I'm super amped up for this now. Smoke comes from behind the stage and the band begin with a soft, droney moody number, at times sounding like something off the Blade Runner soundtrack it is the perfect intro to a diverse and exciting set.
'A Horse Called Golgotha' sets us off. All of the crowd applaud the opening riff, the band then start the main riff and every head I can see is nutting the air. Near me a few guys are doing the classic long hair windmill. Fists are punching the air. People are screaming in delight. Baroness are smiling even more now, like the doom metal Cheshire Cat with four heads. Later they congratulate the crowd for showing love for the music and how much this means to the band. It must be tough to go up there and play a set like this and the crowd are just standing their wondering what they brought in their backpacks.
The set is a fine balance of the bands current and last two albums. Ideally for them they have a rich catalogue of songs to run to when they might be feeling the burn, when needing to cool down a bit they can turn to “Cocanium”, “Steel that sleeps the eye” & “Eula” for example. Tell you something, they need it. If I'm sweating like John Terry on a racist charge what are these guys feeling like up there pulling off rock n roll moves and belting out magnificent riffs on the reg> For one, they all looked totally covered in sweat two songs in! Their breaks don't last for long though, after 'Steel' the song cuts into 'Swollen & Halo' and again they are going at it hammer and tongs.
When they get to “Take my bones away” from the new album 'Yellow & Green', it feels like a real highlight. Anthemic in its style its not as furious as the other more upbeat songs, but it is a cracking tune all the same. If the band have enjoyed a slight break in tempo they seem utterly rejuvenated when after 'Cocanium' they launch themselves into the furious “The Sweetest Curse”, heavy as a million fucking ton atom bomb this drives the crowd into a frenzy with its grinding relentless riffs and rhythm. What a tune! Last song before they finish the set, Baroness play “Isak”, a song that contains many technical mastery displays of the sonik axe that I am left gob smacked. Even John Blaizey afterwards declares he is getting too old for this! (playing the riffs in the song) Danny Glover style. Off the band go. Not a single person moves. No one wants to miss the encore that will come.
You have to give credit to this band. John Blaizley as well as a talented artist is as gifted on the guitar and at supplying a great range of vocal styles. Peter Adams is the ultimate partner to have on stage, he looks exactly what a guy in a metal band should look like, long blonde hair, tattoos, hundred yard stare (probably brought on by the Glasgow weather) and an insane talent at shredding. Matt Maggioni on bass flings that huge instrument of his about like Nacho Vidal would his wang at a hen night he has invaded. Supplying bass lines all night to expertly accommodate the riffs n shreds, its the almighty Allen Blickle and his industrious ability to play the drums for an hour an a half so perfectly in this infernal heat that amazes me the most. Some band. No wonder I have been into them for years.
Baroness finish off the evening with the superb as fuck 'Jake Leg' & 'Grad', the first is a raucous brawling number, like a battle cry, the second a sweet finale to a gig you will never hear better. Triumphant in sound and the whole band look like they are going to cry they are having that much fun. I feel like crying as well. Seeing a band not take themselves seriously and loving every moment they are on stage is up their with all of lifes great things. Like watching the sunset, pumping to Meshuggah, watching Total Recall or getting a gammy. You know it was a brilliant gig if you want to just strap yourself under the tour van and follow the band until they depart on a jet plane back to Georgia.
Baroness are still here in the UK! Go and fucking see them! Buy some of Johns great art, get a t-shirt off the diehard baddy on the merch stall. Enjoy fuck out of the show. In 'Rock n Rolla' the band declared they didn't want to be the support band anymore, well they fucking shouldn’t, they are epic as fuck and right now one of the best bands in the known universe! Epic as mutha fucking fuck. Long live Baroness!
Photos By Bruce Cowie
Posted: Wed 11 July 2012