Baroness took to the stage of the Newport Music Hall this past Friday on one of the sweatiest days of the year thus far. It was a hot one, literally and figuratively speaking as they tore into a “A Horse Called Golgotha” as the opening track. The band returned to a very well-attended Newport Music Hall in support of their latest album, Gold and Grey, which once again finds the band mining fresh terrain between their thrash metal roots and their classic rock infused melodic present.
Fans know of guitarist/vocalist/mastermind John Baizley’s ability to grind his axe into oblivion well, but it’s possible that for many fans in attendance, this may have been an introduction to still new-ish guitarist Gina Gleason (she joined the band in 2018, replacing Pete Adams), bassist Nick Jost and drummer Sebastian Thomson. The band has undergone a complete overhaul over the last several years, shedding what remained of it’s final original members. While the transition between old members and new has been mostly seamless, Gina’s guitar theatrics and unmistakable stage presence are a welcome standout, and arguably an upgrade in terms of sheer attitude. While still relatively new to the band, she already feels like a fan favorite.
The set moved from new tracks like “Borderlines” to old fan favorites “March to the Sea” seamlessly. The progression from some of the material on Yellow and Green coupled with the new songs played from Gold and Grey made me ponder how the albums are like brother and sister, both sprawling, melodic journeys with lots of introspection between the frenzied riffing. You could see the more melodic arc the band took just after Blue Record on full display as instrumental tracks guided the band deeper and further into it’s catalog.
By the time the set reached the elegant “Eula”, I couldn’t help but think of the comparison that all great metal bands eventually get that eventually crossed the bridge into complex yet melodic arrangements, the mighty Metallica. While Baroness’ music might not have the full on crossover appeal of metal’s most popular band, their sense of composition and complexity certainly puts them in the same chapter of the history of metal. But for those who prefer their Baroness songs more straight ahead and pit friendly, well, they had to be patient for the encore, but it certainly delivered. The band returned to play “Ogeechee Hymnal” into Red Album heavy hitter “Isak.” It was a moment some had been waiting for all night, as evidenced by the moshing that soon engulfed the main floor. The band closed the night with the heavy sing along “Take My Bones Away”, and no matter which side of the band you prefer, this one got fists pumping, heads bobbing and the crowd singing along to the heavy chorus as the floor churned one last time. The heat didn’t dissipate, and it all felt like it was over too soon as we were sent out into the night. Until next time, Baroness.
A Horse Called Golgotha
March to the Sea
I’m Already Gone
Chlorine & Wine
Take My Bones Away