I really can’t think of a better way to blow out a dose of Mondayitis than to be blown away by the very awesome Baroness up close and personal at the Gov, and very ably supported by Melbourne power trio Child and local riff mongers Crypt.
The latter took to the stage to open proceedings with a shortish set showcasing their potent brand of groovy, scuzzy, sludgy, southern rock’n’metal to some very appreciative early punters. Bands like Crowbar, Eyehategod and Goatwhore are all touchpoints, and to me Crypt are also sort of like a nastier, more vicious Red Fang with some AC/DC attitude thrown in for good measure. Either way there is much to like. Stand by for their debut full length album in 2017, but in the meantime you can still grab their ‘Kvlt MMXXIV’ at their bandcamp page www.cryptkvlt.bandcamp.com
Child are very much in thrall to the classic heavy blues rock of the late ‘sixties and early ‘seventies. Cream, Free, Rory Gallagher and perhaps more particularly the Robin Trower Band all spring to mind. Singer/guitarist Mathias Northway has a soaring, soulful voice, that is actually a little reminiscent of the late RTB vocalist James Dewar, and which perfectly complements this style of music. Focusing on material from new album ‘Blueside’ (available now at www.childtheband.bandcamp.com ), Child’s set ebbed and flowed from laid back and mellow to some blazing solos and serious riffage. Watch out for a return visit to Adelaide on 20 January at the Ed Castle, where they will be performing in the very fine company of Kitchenwitch and Cobra.
The reasonable-sized crowd (probably about three-quarters full which is sort of ok I guess considering it was a Monday night two weeks out from Christmas, but still…) was at fever pitch by the time Baroness took to the stage, while the band themselves all had ear-to-ear grins as they ripped into Kerosene. Those grins largely stayed in place throughout a blazing performance in which the intensity and passion from both band and audience didn’t waver.
Thunderously heavy at times but featuring many emotional peaks and troughs (mainly the former), the ninety-minute set drew largely from last year’s ‘Purple’ album and the 2012 ‘Yellow/Green’ record. The crowd were in full voice, roaring along to the rousing choruses of March to the Sea, Shock Me and Chlorine and Wine. The main set was brought to a close by a stirring run through of The Gnashing from 2009’s Blue, before an encore featuring another oldie in Isak from the debut Red album before Take My Bones Away brought the evening to a stirring close.
I was asked recently by Mrs Mac to describe Baroness’s music without the standard waffling on and gratuitous hyperbole that normally ensues when I talk about music and beer. I have to admit that I struggled even more than usual to come up with something concise or even a suitable comparison because they truly have evolved into something unique. But for the uninitiated, I would just say that they are a powerful, original heavy rock band who craft epic, progressive but accessible songs with great hooks coupled with thoughtful and emotive lyrics (not to mention that stunning album artwork courtesy of multi-talented frontman John Dyer Baizley). Their albums are fantastic, and on stage they are just an amazing experience.
Lastly, some kudos are in order for the efforts of the mixing desk and sound people because the sound quality and clarity was absolutely on the money tonight for all three bands.