Shock Me: Baroness Live in Lawrence 08/25/16
It must be fate – severe thunderstorms and torrential downpours hit Lawrence, absolutely soaking the line formed outside the Granada waiting for the Baroness show. Inclement weather on a weekday is enough to turn away most prospective attendees from a show, but Baroness (and Pallbearer) resonate deeply with so many people that despite the elements, they drew a sizable crowd in thunderstorms on a Wednesday night. That’s the power of metal.
Releasing their fourth full-length album, Purple, in December of last year, Baroness chose to focus mainly on that record in their setlist. Some of Baroness’ heaviest songs of their career are on their latest release, such as Morningstar – the third song of their set. One thing Purple does extremely well are its catchy choruses and nearly choir-like vocals, as evidenced on their performances of Try To Disappear and Shock Me. For any ounce of heaviness detractors of recent Baroness may proclaim, the group has gained double the amount of groove. The crowd at the Granada didn’t seem to mind – most of the singalongs of the night came from this album; quite a feat considering their highly-regarded back catalogue.
The rest of Baroness’ hour and a half set favored their previous release, Green & Yellow, quite heavily. Luckily, they chose some of the best tunes from their 2012 double album. March to the Sea is, quite frankly, one of the greatest rock songs written in the past five years and was just one of countless chill-inducing moments from the night. Songs like Cocainium and Little Things showcase Baroness’ skill at producing fantastic songs – heavy metal or not. However, two huge cheers from the crowd came from the performances of Isak and The Gnashing, from Baroness’ first and second albums respectively. The moshing was in full effect then.
Although the air was thick with rain and humidity outside, the sound in the Granada was some of the best in recent memory. Each band member came through sounding perfect and loud, not the easiest thing to do with a band like Baroness that relies heavily on dynamics instead of just a riff-fest. Guitarists/vocalists John Baizley and Peter Adams need some sort of trophy for being one of the best and most entertaining guitar duos in heavy music today. Bassist Nick Jost pulled double duty, providing keyboard/synthesizer sounds in-between songs and during some tracks as well. It was all held together by drummer Sebastian Thomson who didn’t miss a beat and just added to the overall groove and heaviness that only Baroness can provide. All around, it was one of the most flawless and unforgettable performances at the Granada and probably will be for quite some time.
Just as many in the crowd were in attendance for openers Pallbearer as they were for Baroness. This four-piece from Little Rock has basically owned the heavy metal magazines and blog-o-sphere since the 2012 release of Sorrow and Extinction. To call Pallbearer heavy is an understatement – they live and die by the heavy, drawn-out riffs. The only respite is the piercing clean vocals of guitarist Brett Campbell that accentuate the punishing sound with a haunting melody behind them. Although the name of the game is long and slow, Pallbearer aren’t afraid to throw in some totally rocking guitar solos – take set opener Worlds Apart; there’s basically a killer guitar solo throughout half of the ten minute song and Pallbearer absolutely owns it. It is very easy to play this style of heavy metal and phone it in, but Pallbearer do it better than just about anyone else.
- March to the Sea
- Shock Me
- Green Theme
- The Iron Bell
- If I Have To Wake Up (Would You Stop The Rain?)/Fugue
- Little Things
- Chlorine & Wine
- Try to Disappear
- Desperation Burns
- The Gnashing
- Take My Bones Away
- Worlds Apart
- Fear & Fury
- The Ghost I Used To Be
- *New Song*