On This Day in History

Written By Braddon S.Williams aka “ The Concert Critic”

On this date in history, 11/10/2021, my wife and I eagerly attended a sold-out show at The Black Circle in Indianapolis featuring Baroness. Anticipation and curiosity were running rampant in my brain as I wondered if this incredible band could top the life changing show that we had witnessed in 2019. The simple answer is “Yes, they did!” The more complex answer involved a number of factors…

1. There was no opening band at The Black Circle. This allowed Baroness to stretch out and play a longer show (one that was voted on by fans). No disrespect to the opener at the previous show we attended, but I really loved seeing Baroness in its purest form.

2. I was much more familiar with the Baroness catalog this time around. In 2019 I had attended just wanting to expand my musical horizons and check out a band I had been aware of but hadn’t really familiarized myself with.

After that show I quickly went back and purchased all their albums and explored the vast treasure trove of Baroness music.

3. Both venues we have caught shows at have been fantastic. However, The Black Circle is so intimate (capacity maybe 200 if packed in as tightly as possible) that there was a perfect storm of magical musical majesty happening. Oddly enough, we were standing almost directly in front of guitarist/vocalist Gina Gleason both times. Gleason and John Baizley (band leader/lead singer/guitarist) have this wonderful symmetry to their singing and playing that is such a beautiful thing to witness and hear. Their voices blend almost into a third voice when they harmonize, and their guitars build these tapestries of sound that are like cathedrals of almost heartbreaking beauty that suddenly rage into colossal riffs of crushing power. Equally important are the contributions of the terrific rhythm section;

Nick Jost pulls double duty on bass and keyboards, contributing tons of inventive grooves and ambience throughout the show, while drummer Sebastian Thomson plays super intelligent counterpoint to all the creativity bursting form this most exceptional band. Thomson can hit with the best of them, but he was fascinating to watch as he reacted and adjusted to all the myriad peaks and valleys of this challenging music.

Their dynamic range is staggering and inspirational, truly every shade of dark to light and a whisper to a scream is displayed throughout the performance. Our view of the entire band was perfection…every facial expression, all the interactions between all four Baroness members, and of course all the physicality and exuberance that are hallmarks of their passion for their music…in short, a concert experience of a lifetime.

I’ve been attending shows since 1976 and I’ve literally seen some of the legends of all time. I haven’t been this excited about a band in a long, long time. Baroness is an elite band, and I place them among the best of the best that I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot! But don’t take my word for it. By all means, go see for yourself…you can thank me later!

On This Day in History

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”

On this date in history, 7/21/2019, I entered into uncharted territory by attending a superb show featuring Baroness and Torche, 2 bands I knew very little about. This wonderful event took place at Deluxe, the downstairs room at Old National Centre in Indianapolis. I have been to several shows at both The Egyptian Room and The Murat Theatre, but this was my first time at the Deluxe, and I was quite impressed by the sound and visual aspect of the room.

Torche kicked things off with a lethal barrage of stoner rock riffage that pummeled the crowd relentlessly throughout their energetic set. The only complaints I had were that the vocals were too low in the mix, and that there were literally no dynamics in Torche’s music. Otherwise, what they did, they did exceptionally well, and the instrumental mix was on point…crushing guitars, deep and bone rattling bass, and concussion level drumming, all played with tons of energy.

I will have to check out some of their studio stuff to get a better idea of their vocals and lyrics, though.

Baroness is an intriguing band, and although I had only heard a small selection of songs on YouTube about a year ago, I knew enough that I wanted to see this band on stage.

Nothing could have prepared me for how monumentally satisfying this music would affect me. From the moment they took the stage, Baroness was electrifying; with lead singer John Dyer Baizley running to the edge of the crowd with a beaming, nearly maniacal grin on his face.

Lead guitarist Gina Gleason was visibly excited, too, frequently making eye contact and headbanging gleefully whenever she wasn’t providing spellbinding harmony vocals to Baizley’s fantastic voice.

The guitar work that those two graced the boisterous crowd with was a tapestry of richly haunting tones, mixed with savage power, and consummate tasteful elegance.

Vocally, Baizley and Gleason blended together into something truly magical.

Nick Jost provided excellent bass and keyboard work, while Sebastian Thomson held it all together with rock solid drums and percussion.

Baroness made a huge impression on me that night, and I realized that by having virtually no knowledge of their music and no preconceived notions, I was able to have a purely musical experience, taking the show completely at face value. What a glorious concert…what a beautiful band!

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