Baroness – 4.5/5
Live from the Camden Barfly, London, 12th July 2012
Sometimes I wonder why a band bothers putting on a live show. It's apparent they'd rather be somewhere else and so all we get is a slightly worse version of the CD played at a high volume. Fortunately Baroness aren't this kind of band, rather they're precisely the opposite. This is a band who looks one shade away from failing to contain their masculinity and blubber with joy when they hear their lyrics sung back to them, and can't help but give a heartfelt talk about how they miss the intimacy of smaller venues that never feels anything but genuine. They waste little time getting to the music, letting their instruments and physicality do most of the talking for them, but when Baizley does speak it never feels from a script; never that they've placed themselves on some sort of pedestal, but rather as a gathering of friends united by their music.
It's not just the emotion that a live setting brings out of them though, they love their music so much that they can't keep still; running back and forth, raising the guitar up high and hammering the notes out with joyous energy; sweat pouring off them by the end of the first track, you can't help but wonder if the towel in his back pocket is to wipe his brow or the guitar before it soaks into that as well. Seeing the crowd going wild in response just serves to give them more satisfaction and energy which causes everything to go in one big circle, each side of the stage serving to excite the other. Listening to them perform live compared to the CD is like going from black and white to colour (or from VHS to HD for those who don't know what a black and white film looks like); it's more vibrant, has more energy and emotion behind it. There's a greater sense of atmosphere that comes with the live setting; a greater sense that this is a 'moment' that you are sharing with the band.
There are no gimmicks or clichés. They wont scream out how your town is 'the best' or 'the loudest.' They won't end the show by 'reaching down' to shake hands with the fans, they'll get off the stage and embrace you like a brother, or wait for you by the bar for an after show beer. Neither will any of them ask if you want to have a good time, they'll just look out into the crowd and see the energy and smile; a kind of grin that they couldn't help even if they tried. The albums now almost seem a byproduct; an inevitable consequence of being in a band. The live show is their holiday from all that, the reason they live for, and I know there's nowhere I'd rather be than sharing in that moment with them.
Image courtesy Metal-Mirror.de