GIG REVIEW: BARONESS & PALLBEARER Live at Buffalo, NY
It was yet another hot and muggy evening in Buffalo, NY when fans waited to get into The Waiting Room to see Baroness finally return to Western NY. I’d never been to The Waiting Room before, and when I entered I looked around to see strings of red Christmas lights lining the ceiling, and wondered for a moment if I was at a dance club, or going in for a metal gig. But it was air conditioned, unlike 99.99% of concert venues, so I lost interest in appearances fairly quickly.
Pallbearer opened the show, a band I knew more by name and reputation than any real knowledge of their albums. The crowd was still murmuring when they came on stage, but were immediately drawn into the heavy doom ridden opening riffs. Pallbearer plays a Black Sabbath style of doom metal, long songs, slow and crushingly heavy riffs, with clean vocals. As previously mentioned I was unfamiliar with much of their music prior to the show, this is a problem I must soon rectify. They put on an engrossing performance for 45 minutes or so, all the while only playing 5 songs. It’s a credit to their skill and craft that they create music that while based in groove ridden riffs and repetition, were not boring for a second. They also announced that they had just finished their third album the week prior, and played a song from their upcoming album. No title was given for either the song, or the album, but fans of the band have plenty to look forward to.
A mere half hour after the first set the lights dimmed, and the dramatic main theme from the film “Conan the Barbarian” (the good one with Schwarzenegger, not the godforsaken remake) boomed over the loudspeaker. A smile immediately spread across my face, knowing that such epic entrance music had to mean an epic show. And it did. Baroness hit hard from the start with the thunderous ‘Kerosene’ from their most recent album ‘Purple’ (all Baroness albums are self titled and thus known by the album color) and the crowd was immediately drawn into the song. Buffalo has a very solid metal scene, and this was only the second time Baroness had played in the city, the previous time was nearly eight years ago when they were touring for their first album ‘Red’ so the crowd was passionate about their return.
Baroness gave the crowd a full hour and half show of pulsing, groove oriented, and slightly progressively tinged metal. Unsurprisingly the set was heavy on songs from their last album. However, their others were represented as well, and in a bit of fun, the color of the stage lighting changed for each song depending on what color album the song came from. I thought that a very nice touch. Purple was by far the most frequent color, but Green was seen often as well. Blue lights didn’t come till the end and the only Red light was seen during their encore. More early stuff would have been nice, but when they ended their main set with ‘Chlorine and Wine’ the reality that whatever they played was great made it not really matter what album was represented.
By the time the concert wrapped up, and Baroness received their due applause I doubt there was a disappointed fan in the room. Just the day before was the 4th anniversary of the horrific bus crash the band suffered while on tour in Europe, some wondered if they would ever record and tour again. They did, and they’re better than ever, and the bands history makes the show all the sweeter and more special for those who were in attendance. If you get the chance to see this tour then jump on it, you’ll be in for a special evening.