A lot changed for American metal act Baroness between their last visit to Copenhagen in August 2012 and Saturday night’s triumphant return.
For starters, the band suffered a tragic bus accident just a week after last year’s show. The Baroness tour bus drove off the road near Bath, England and plunged ten metres to the ground, seriously injuring everyone on board and putting the band’s entire career in jeopardy. Half of the band – drummer Allen Blickle and bassist Matt Maggioni – left in the aftermath, while frontman/guitarist John Baizley and guitarist Peter Adams decided to soldier on. Baizley’s recovery from the near-fatal accident was particularly brutal and he revealed in later interviews that there were serious concerns that he would lose his arm.
With two new members in the fold – drummer Sebastian Thomson and bassist Nick Jost – Baroness made the brave decision to return to the road in May and made their way back to Europe, the site of their “brush with death”, as Baizley put it, in late September.
Their Copenhagen date saw the band joined by fellow Georgia rockers Royal Thunder and Black Tusk for a sold-out performance in Christiania’s Loppen that was hot, loud, and equal parts intense and cathartic.
Following the two opening performances and an impromptu jam, in which Baizley and Adams joined Black Tusk’s Jamie May and Andrew Fidler for a take on some old Misfits tunes, Baroness opened with a trio of songs – ‘Yellow Theme/Take My Bones Away’, ‘March to the Sea’ and ‘A Horse Called Golgotha’ – that whipped the venue into a fury. The 90-minute set was heavy on selections from 2012’s terrific double album, Yellow & Green, but the Americans also played older tracks like ‘Steel that Sleeps the Eye’, ‘The Sweetest Curse’ and ‘Isak’.
The packed and sweaty conditions of Loppen made for an intense night for both the audience and the band alike. Baizley, perhaps not totally back in touring shape, was noticeably winded at times and the heat and moisture wrecked havoc on Adams’ guitar pedals. When Baizley was forced to bide time as Adams and his tech fiddled with his equipment, he spoke passionately about the tough year the band has faced, and sounded very sincere when thanking the crowd for providing the energy needed to make it through the night.
Following the show, the band took to social media and declared the concert “one of the most intense and physically demanding shows in our ten-year history. We will never forget that show.”
The same can be said for the 400 or so fans who left the show with their clothes drenched with sweat and their ears ringing. Baroness may have been through one hell of a year, but their performance at Loppen showed that they are stronger than ever.
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