Modern hard rock quartet Baroness deliver solid set at Mesa’s Nile Theatre

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Baroness at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on October 25th 2023

Review by Val Tapia
Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: 13th Floor Entertainment (https://www.13thfloorentertainment.com/ )
Venue: The Nile Theater (https://www.theniletheater.com/ )
Date: Wednesday October 25th, 2023
Tour: Sweet Oblivion Tour

Baroness at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on October 25th 2023

While on my way to Mesa’s Nile Theatre on Wed. Oct. 25 to see a triple-bill of Baroness, Primitive Man, and Midwife, I started thinking about the “current” state of rock music.  Is it healthy, or speaking candidly, is it on… life support?

Going by the response of the small yet enthusiastic crowd that night for all three bands, I’d have to say that, yes, rock music in 2023 is indeed alive and well.  Or at least, in a good place overall.

The night’s headliner, Georgia-based Baroness, is touring in support of its sixth studio album, Stone. Kicking their 14 song, 80-minute set off with Last Word, it became clear that the latest incarnation of the band (consisting of founding lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist John Baizley, lead guitarist Gina Gleason, bassist Nick Jost, and drummer Sebastian Thomson) just might be its strongest lineup to date.

The day before the show, I spoke briefly with bassist Jost via telephone.  He called from “somewhere in the desert” aboard the band’s tour bus on the way to Mesa from Albuquerque, NM.

Baroness at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on October 25th 2023

“Yes, this lineup is definitely our strongest yet”, Jost said proudly.  “Both myself and Sebastian have been in the band since 2013, and Gina joined us in 2017.  You might be aware that Stone, and our previous album, Gold & Grey (from 2019) are the only two albums in our history where the same recording lineup remained intact.”

Jost continued. “That in itself is definitely a proud moment, especially for John, being the sole original member of the band now.”

Back onstage, the band goes into second song A Horse Called Golgotha (from 2009’s Blue Record), followed by March To The Sea (from 2012’s Yellow & Green) with a roar of approval from the (mostly) thirty-something audience.

I noticed at that point in the show how tight the band is musically.  Yes, it’s straight-ahead modern rock, but there are some “progressive” elements in the songs as well.  With Baroness, the instrumental chops are certainly there, but the songs are what matter to the band when all is said and done.  As it should be.

Two other new songs, Beneath The Rose (one of Jost’s favorites to play live) and Under The Wheel come off very well live.  But songs like Chlorine & Wine and Isak really brought the roof down.

After an encore of the Grammy-nominated Shock Me and The Gnashing, it appeared that the band had a great time.  Baizley expressed his appreciation and thanked their fans for coming out to the show, and also thanked openers Primitive Man and Midwife for “joining us tonight”.

Overall, all the bands seemed very grateful to be onstage and do what they love most— playing live.

I’ll give this show three out of five stars— go check Baroness out when they play your area. I think you’ll be pleasantly satisfied.


Baroness

Photos by Fred Kuhlman 2023, All Rights Reserved



Primitive Man

Photos by Fred Kuhlman 2023, All Rights Reserved



Midwife

Photos by Fred Kuhlman 2023, All Rights Reserved



Baroness set list:
Last Word
A Horse Called Golgotha
March To The Sea
Beneath The Rose
Under The Wheel
War, Wisdom and Rhyme
Anodyne
Chlorine & Wine
Seasons
Desperation Burns
The Sweetest Curse
Isak
Encore:
Shock Me
The Gnashing

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