By: Siobhan Hogarty
Photos: Charlie Gardner
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The Garage, Glasgow | February 28, 2016
Savannah’s sons Baroness suffered a hardship a few years ago that would break many bands, but their resilience shone and in the aftermath, they were able to breathe life into their latest glorious release, Purple. There’s a buzz in the air of the heavily filled Garage, from fans both old and new, for good reason. You’ll be hard pushed to find a band that exude more passion in a live setting, tonight is certainly no different and harks their return to British shores in style.
From the off, John Dyer Baizley is animated to a level rarely seen; it looks as if it would pain him to stop smiling and it is infectious. The opening gambit of ‘Kerosene’ kicks things to life and we watch the purple lighting fade to yellow as the haunting intro to ‘March To The Sea’ floats through the air, sharp drumming punctuating every bounce of the crowd.
From here on in the atmosphere and intensity never falters, whether it’s the meandering ‘Board Up The House’, the bass heavy groove of ‘Little Things’ or the frantic pacing of ‘The Iron Bell’, each moment is superb. The technical skill on display from the four packing out the Garage stage is outrageous, almost perfect (if there is such a thing). Baizley and Adams exchange fluid riffs, as their vocals meld and sweetly compliment the other; I struggle to peel my eyes away from them.
Usually when promoting new records on the road, the crowd yearns for older tracks but for Baroness, there is not even a hint of this being an issue. Purple comes to life when played live, with its soaring melodies and hearty vocals perfectly suited for a crowd, so Glasgow’s rowdy assembled give it their best to fire a little energy back. Material from Yellow & Green makes up a large remainder of the setlist, much to the crowd’s pleasure, with ‘Eula’ and ‘Cocainium’ sounding as fresh and atmospheric as ever.
The connection between the crowd and band remains solid throughout, allowing a deeper enjoyment, as you can really vibe off the ever present emotion of Baizley and Co. ‘If I Have To Wake Up’ builds with such intensity that I find a lump in my throat and the tears make an appearance, I guess that many others in the room may have experienced the same. Following this with ‘Fugue’ and ‘Chlorine and Wine’ was an inspired choice, pumping out dynamic and twisting harmonies. However, all good things must end and as a closer for the night, you’ll struggle to improve upon ‘Take My Bones Away’. Baroness deliver a thunderous rendition and the closing vocal refrain is roared back, as all of us in the room realise how lucky we are to have such a band around.
(Pictures were taken at the Koko, London show)