By Alma Reed
By Wes Lytz
Mercenaries of alternative metal Baroness played at Nashville’s Cannery Ballroom Tuesday night. Here’s the play-by-play:
Purveyors of doom metal Pallbearer opened the show. Doom metal sounds exactly like you think it would. Dark and foreboding, you hear detuned guitars and morose lyrics weaving through sombre and gloomy progressions. Lead singer Brett Campbell’s pitch perfect vocals add a bright contrast to the sepulchral sounding music.
The audience was surprisingly chipper in the midst of such doleful ambience as they chatted cheerfully and laughed as the band played. Bass player Joseph Rowland has the most energetic stage presence of the group as he rocked out enthusiastically throughout the show. Guitarist Devin Holt eschews the spotlight, focusing instead on laser accurate shredding. Pallbearer’s stage production was relatively spartan which has the virtue of keeping ticket prices lower, but reduces the overall visual impact of the performance. If you go see Pallbearer, have some foam earplugs on-hand because, at least on this night, they were loud AF.
The headliner Baroness goes onstage before an eager audience. I had not heard of Baroness before and wasn’t sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a nicely balanced band with well-crafted music. With elements of hard rock, alternative and symphonic metal, it touches all the bases I want to hear.
Guitarist/singers John Baizley and Gina Gleason sing harmonized vocals almost the entire show, and the ultra cohesive rhythm section of Nick Jost and Sebastian Thomas are locked at the hip from start to finish. The net effect is a rock solid, super tight, full-bodied sound experience. As such, their music took on different and added dimensions relative to what I experienced streaming their tunes on YouTube. Precisely what one craves when attending a live performance.
Like Pallbearer, Baroness’ austere stage production leaves you wanting additional visual stimulation. Further, the band’s interaction with the crowd is stymied, as the awkward silence between songs hangs in the air. It’s a missed opportunity for the band to connect with their audience by sharing anecdotes while tuning up. Either way, Baroness’ music and performance are mind expanding and well worth checking out in person.