Richmond, VA – There was little fanfare announcing the coming of music nobility to Richmond on the night of November 7th, 2021. The near capacity crowd at the Richmond Music Hall eagerly awaited the arrival of Baroness. As the lights went down a hush fell over the audience, followed by loud applause, Baroness had taken the stage!
The coronation was fast and furious, as they opened with “Kerosene” from their 2015 album, Purple. Crowns? They don’t need no stinking crowns! With amps acting as crowns, guitars and skins as robes, and picks and sticks for jewels, a great metal ball was underway.
Some knew their background, others, like me, would soon find out that Baroness was the nobility of the people. The first half of their set was chosen by their fans via an poll. Fan choice number 2 was “March to the Sea” followed immediately by “A Horse Called Golgotha“. Their subjects had spoken!
The one thing I noticed was the band, consisting of John Dyer Baizley (vocals, guitar), Gina Gleason (guitar, backing vocals), Nick Jost (bass) and Sebastian Thomson, let their music do the talking. They went from song to song in rapid succession, with little (or more often, no) words in between. This was not a performance about nobility, this was all about the music.
They played a total of 10 songs in the set chosen by the people, including “Shock Me” and “Take My Bones Away” At the conclusion of the people’s set John did speak, saying that the songs brought back a lot of memories and it had been a long time since some had been performed. Giving us a little, history, we learned that Richmond was like a second home to the band in their early days, as the original members were from Lexington, VA. They often played to the house at a now closed Richmond venue called Alley Katz. After John spoke, Baroness then took a little metal breather, slowing things down and performing a couple acoustic pieces, “Foolsong” and “Cocainium“.
The ebb in power was short lived. As they put away the acoustic guitars, we were once again given the royal metal treatment with a pounding drum lead in, followed by a bass line, transitioning to “Can Oscura“, to kick off part 2 of the night. Immediately after, they went right into “Tourniquet“, which starts a little slow and builds to a powerful climax. We were head banging again.
Weaving a royal tapestry of additional tunes in the second set, they played several well known songs, including, “If I Have to Wake Up (Would You Stop the Rain?) / Fugue“, “The Sweetest Curse“, “Borderlines” and “Seasons“. Even though the nobility ball was winding down for the night, the audience was pumped. After their last song of the night, “The Gnashing“, the band waved and left the stage. Unwilling to let nobility depart, the audience chanting, ‘One more song’ gave them a standing ovation and brought them back for an encore of “Morningstar“.
As Baroness left for the night to continue their post-covid tour, one thing was certain, the Richmond Music Hall had become a castle worthy of nobility for the night. Sure, we had all expected a memorable experience, one worthy of the Baroness noble moniker. Instead, we received a performance fit for royalty that will keep the Music Hall in Richmond rocking well into 2022.
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March to the Sea
A Horse Called Golgotha
Chlorine & Wine
Rays on Pinion
Take My Bones Away
If I Have to Wake Up (Would You Stop the Rain?) / Fugue
The Sweetest Curse