Words & Photos by Marco Denzer

Following a very successful performance at the Welcome to Rockville festival in Daytona, FL, Baroness brought their powerhouse repertoire to The Stone Pony in Asbury Park for one of seven co-headlining dates with Portland, OR based rockers Red Fang.

The legendary New Jersey venue was filled to capacity, with plenty of fans spilling onto the back patio where they could watch the show on large video monitors. Red Fang opened the evening with a dose of heavy tunes that immediately got the crowd rocking – their set started with “Hank Is Dead” and quickly established the pace for a head banging show that included songs like “Malverde”, “Crows In Swine”, “Wires”, and “Sharks” to name just a few of the thirteen tunes they played. As one might expect, their set was an in-your-face performance with tons of heavy guitar riffs and heart pounding bass and drums. It was unapologetically loud, and the crowd loved it.

Red Fang experienced a couple of minor technical glitches during the set, including a blown amplifier, but the issues were quickly resolved thanks to their roadie and a borrowed amplifier from Baroness. They were minor details that didn’t affect them too much. Besides, bassist Aaron Beam humored the audience with a couple of raunchy anecdotes from “life on the road” while the problems were corrected. Everyone got a good laugh and the show went on!

By the time Baroness hit the stage to begin their set, the vibe in the room was that of sheer delight. It was abundantly clear the fans were beyond stoked to see the band live in such an intimate setting. The Stone Pony’s stage is very low to the ground and the containment barricade is also extremely close to it. There’s not much separating the audience from the performing musicians, so it almost felt like Baroness was playing at a private house party for just a handful of friends.

The excitement was very high now, so when John Dyer Baizley (guitar & vocals), Gina Gleeson (guitar & vocals), Nick Jost (bass) and Sebastian Thompson (drums) began playing “Last Word”, from their latest release “Stone”, the audience countered with a burst of energy that fed right into the driving tempo and power of the song. It was a textbook heavy metal concert moment, when the band, its audience, the energy in the room, and the song collide as one – deeply rooted in mutual appreciation and love for the music.

From that moment on, Baroness flawlessly performed an awesome set of thirteen songs that were carefully selected from just about every single one of their albums. They had chosen songs for every type of discerning musical taste and enjoyment. With a setlist bridging a vast range of themes and emotions, the band effortlessly spanned from dark and heavy songs like “Under the Wheel” to lighter and more ethereal ones like “Green Theme” without contradiction. Baroness is a very tight and efficient quartet. As such, they skillfully molded an extremely dynamic and thoroughly enjoyable live music experience for the crowd that included highs and lows like chapters in a gripping and captivating story.

One of the most endearing aspects of the show was the band’s unassuming character and attitude. Each of the musicians looks like anybody else in the venue that’s there to see the concert and have a couple of beers, but as soon as the music starts it becomes abundantly clear they mean business and are laser focused on delivering the goods. Their musical proficiency, as demonstrated in their lyrics, arrangements, melodies, counterparts, and harmonies, and their respective instrumental prowess are outstanding. Watching them sing with unbridled passion, interact with each other on various musical parts and riffs, dance and jump around on stage, groove to the music, and shred on their guitars is exhilarating and fun as hell. They demand one’s attention with pure talent and a great set of songs, passion and honesty.

Baroness will continue with their tour throughout the U.S. until late June and they’ll begin an
extensive European tour in August.

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